Entrepreneurship is not a concept new to the human mind. Various excavations and research trace this concept back to 17,000BCE which seems quite a long time.
Over the years, there has been a constant shift in the traditional concept because of the various changes that took hold of the world in each decade. The journey of entrepreneurship was not a simple one but full of adventures because of the development of civilization at each phase till the 21st century started revealing its own mysteries.
A BIRD’S EYE VIEW
- Entrepreneurship history is thousands of years old.
- New Guinean merchants are the pioneers of entrepreneurship which was further extended by the nomadic tribes.
- The agricultural revolution shifted the shape of entrepreneurship with the establishment of fertile cities while extending trade with the help of trade routes.
- The replacement of the barter system with money was the agent of change that gave way to markets and capitalism leading to the industrial revolution.
- After the world wars, America enhanced its entrepreneurial efforts and the focus was upon the IT and tech industry.
- With the formation of grand entrepreneurial ventures, today’s entrepreneurship seeks inspiration from IT along with innovation.
Earliest Known Evidence of Entrepreneurship
Just as civilization began, the need for daily life necessities became the most essential of all. Humans realized their social dependence on one another.
It was then that the process of trade started at its full pace. At that time, entrepreneurship was not a grown concept. It was because of the traders and merchants that entrepreneurship prevailed in the course of history.
The Pioneers of Entrepreneurship
If we look back at the history of the whole entrepreneurial world, we find that it was because of the New Guinean traders that entrepreneurship actually made its position among other prominent careers at that time. 17,000 BCE was the age when the needs exceed beyond the mere needs for hunting.
Humans explored enormous other activities and felt the need to exchange things for different other things or services in return.
Services of Nomadic Tribes
At that time the civilization was not located in a particular area but the climate and the resources decided the habitat of humans. This was why nomads became common in those civilizations. Certain nomadic tribes were known for their intelligence when it came to the exchange of goods and services.
They were the ones who used to travel from place to place. So, the intelligent effort on their part was that they started collecting the specialties of one area and started trading them for obtaining the major products or services of the other areas. This became extremely popular till the agricultural revolution began.
The Agricultural Revolution
This revolution began during 15000 BCE when humans started realizing the significance of various crops which could provide them good sources for food and clothing. However, this itself was a booming revolution because people onwards started trade of the major food and clothing crops.
They exchanged the seeds with one another and this effort exceeded the exchange of the livestock as well. Now a new civilization was about to be found because of this new sense of trade and development.
Evolution of Entrepreneurship as well as the Civilization
When finally the nomadic tribes found refuge at one place that could meet all the needs including food, shelter, clothing, and fertility, this was the time when the real need for the establishment of grand civilization was felt.
Hence, the earliest two cities contributed to the entrepreneurial concept through their mere existence. The planes of Tigris and Euphrates not only served as the hub of all civilization but embraced the entrepreneurial concepts of trade as well. Traders and merchants got renowned within these cities and it was also the time during which trade extended beyond its local boundaries and reached the far-flung areas.
Trade Routes and their Role in Promoting Entrepreneurship
When the network of cities started extending wider than ever, new trade routes were formed. These were the routes that connected not only cities with each other but the continents along with one another. Therefore, the year 2000 BCE saw fast propagation of the trading concepts where traders all over the world properly started merchandising their local products and gained reliability of not just the local customers but the customers of the new lands as well.
Replacement of the Barter System with Monetary System
It was from there that the earlier concept of the exchange of goods as a mode of trade was considered insufficient to meet the growing needs. This was because of two reasons:
- People no longer wanted to stick to the conventional bartering concept because it benefited a few members while leaving others deprived.
- Goods started becoming insufficient because of the wide growth of the population till that time.
Due to this reason, the barter system was eventually replaced with money or coins in the year 1110 because the population grew at a faster pace and the upper society needed a controlling mechanism through which the services of the lower classes could be used for their advantage. Money was sought out to be the most essential weapon for this reason.
Establishment of Markets
It was not long after this change that the first and earliest markets of history came into existence. The conventional trading mechanics were now getting replaced by the authorities for the sake of management and control. By the year 1495, things changed drastically and there was a hold of merchants in the main markets or grounds which dealt with goods or services.
Usage of Skills
By 1500, entrepreneurial concepts not only remained limited to the sales and purchase of exchange or buy goods or services but innovation’s foundation was laid down deeply. Different professions are starting to rise brightly on the horizon. The goldware and silverware industry gave birth to the goldsmith and ironsmith as well as clay pottery became another important source of earning.
During this time, the merchants realized that their innovative skills were giving them monetary benefits at a large scale. So, they decided to evolve this concept further and this was how entrepreneurship really began taking birth during the capitalist environment where money controlled the individuals and upper circle because being the owner of several market businesses earned a huge reputation in the social circles.
Birth of the Industrial Age
The year was 1790 and capitalism was growing at a faster pace when scientific developments started taking over the world. The people at that time wondered about the new age which was made possible because of various scientific inventions which made life easier than ever.
It was because of them that the business market saw a new dimension of its existence. At first, it was the simple machinery that was meant to ease up the task of individuals and reduce the cost of overall manpower.
However, by the year 189, things changed totally and advanced machinery took the place of the simple one. This was how the Industrial Age propagated gradually with all its vigor grabbing the arm of capitalism side by side which gave birth to concepts like Marxism and revolutions marked by the carnage.
Once the industries started making their hold stronger, it was the continuous expansion of their units that was noticed all along. By the year 1900, things were changed very quickly and newer businesses were laid down to take their place in the financial world. The businesses belonging to various categories of consumer usage. However, every single product which was being sold at that time was machine-made.
Wars and Entrepreneurship
By the year 1910, the situation became extremely difficult because of the First World War which had not only eaten humanity but devoured the economy completely leaving nothing behind.
Right when it ended, the Second World War was impatiently waiting for the individuals and the industry to break apart. By the year 1948, things had changed completely. This was because of the shattered economy due to consecutive wars which needed to be amended.
Rise of America and Technology
It is the tale of the 1950s when the new world America got the attention of the entire world because of its significant and consecutive scientific efforts. Besides, the industry grew at a full pace within all the states leading it to become a “Super Power” eventually.
Afterward, scientific education became a major source of progress within the country where various new ventures were introduced one by one.
Rise of the Tech Industry and Entrepreneurship
After this in early 2000, the internet and IT became two major spheres of business. With the establishment of the Microsoft corporation, entrepreneurs and businessmen found a new way to prosper because of the technology in hand. By the early 2010s, Facebook and Apple proved to be the most successful entrepreneurial ventures which gave a new dimension to the entrepreneurs who started bearing interest in the entrepreneurial world through the lens of technology so that everything worked in order.
Modern Day Entrepreneurship
Today’s entrepreneurship is all about creativity and innovation. Creators are innovating new things, unique ideas, and peculiar principles to give way to unconventional forms of business. These days, the major focus is upon the overall productivity of the venture because the customers are demanding it too. So, the entrepreneurial coin seems to take its influence more from the individual and less from the convention.
Entrepreneurship has shared centuries old history. All over the time, it kept on changing its shapes and ways to provide benefit to the entrepreneurs as well the clients.
Though the modern lens of entrepreneurship is all concerned about innovation and uniqueness, studying the history of entrepreneurship, it seems that in a few years, this concept will alter again to a more convenient principle of the business world.
The author is an M.Phil scholar conducting her thesis in Literature. As a sucker for literature, she swoons over Greek and South Asian fiction while reviewing books in her spare time. Her love for writing has made her expand her subject matter and now she pens her opinions frequently on business, finance, entrepreneurship, lifestyle, history, and literature. For a special connection with entrepreneurship, she opens up the details occasionally about it.