In 2025, it is estimated that the global e-commerce market will be worth more than $4.9 trillion. Businesses of all sizes use technology to reach more customers and sell products and services online. Some of the key trends and opportunities driving this growth are the increasing use of social media, mobile commerce, payment, and digital marketing. 

Entrepreneurship is the process of starting and running your own business. It can be much work, but it can also be really exciting. Small Businesses (SBs) are important because it creates jobs, help businesses, communities thrive, and spur innovation. According to the World Bank, 90% of businesses are SBs and employ half of the global workforce.

This article discusses how technology is changing businesses and helping new entrepreneurs get started. It’s been especially helpful to SBs, which have benefitted from using technology in several ways. So, get ready to be inspired and informed as we look ahead to the future of business in the digital age!

Rise of the Digital Entrepreneur

The term “digital entrepreneur” refers to people who start and run businesses using digital tools and platforms. These entrepreneurs often use the internet and other digital technologies to connect with customers and sell products or services.

Technology has helped to make entrepreneurship more accessible and efficient in recent years. This allows people to start and manage businesses from anywhere, creating new markets and industries and disrupting traditional business models. Additionally, technology has made it easier for SBs to reach a wider audience and expand their reach.

E-commerce has helped SBs grow in popularity, allowing them to sell their products and services to a broader audience online. According to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global e-commerce sales reached $4.2 trillion in 2020, an increase of 32% compared to the previous year.

The rise of virtual and remote work has allowed many entrepreneurs to hire and manage a distributed workforce and operate their businesses from anywhere. This is especially helpful during times of pandemics since it allows people to stay safe and work from home. According to a survey by the International Telecommunication Union, the percentage of individuals working from home increased from 3.9% to 42.3% between the first and second quarters of 2020.

The rise of the digital entrepreneur has led to the creation of new markets and industries, contributed to the growth of entrepreneurship and the innovation economy, and enabled individuals to start and run businesses from anywhere in the world that might not have been possible in the past. 

Adoption of Technology in Small Businesses

The adoption of new technology is a way to improve business efficiency. It can involve choosing and using software, hardware, and other technological solutions to improve communication and other business processes.

There are several benefits of technology adoption for small businesses, including:

  • Increased efficiency and productivity: Technology can help SBs streamline their processes, reduce manual labor, and automate tasks, freeing up time for more important work.
  • Improved communication and collaboration: Technology can help SBs improve communication and collaboration with their employees, customers, and partners, regardless of location.
  • Enhanced customer service: Technology can help SBs provide better customer service by enabling faster response times and offering convenient self-service options.
  • Greater reach and scalability: Technology can help SBs expand their reach and scale their operations, allowing them to reach more customers and increase their sales.

Despite these benefits, SBs can face several challenges when adopting technology, including:

  • Cost: Technology can be expensive, especially for SBs with limited resources.
  • Lack of technical expertise: Small business owners may need the technical skills or knowledge to implement and use technology effectively.
  • Security concerns: SBs may be at greater risk for cyber-attacks and need to invest in appropriate security measures.
  • Resistance to change: Employees and customers may resist adopting new technologies, leading to resistance and challenges in implementing them.

A digital presence, such as a website and social media profiles, is also important for SBs in today’s digital age. A strong online presence can help SBs reach a wider audience, establish their brand, and attract new customers. It can also help SBs connect with their customers, build relationships through social media and other online channels, and establish credibility and trust.

Technology adoption can be a big challenge, but it is important for SBs to think carefully about the kind of technology they want to use and should make sure they consider their needs and resources when adopting new technology. They should choose technologies that will help them achieve their goals. I recommend getting help from experts in the field to avoid any problems. 

Technology-Driven Disruptions in Traditional Industries

Technology-driven disruptions are changes in how an industry operates caused by the use of new technologies. These changes can be very disruptive to businesses that are traditional in nature and can lead to changes in the way that the industry works.

There are numerous examples of traditional industries being disrupted by technology-driven startups. Some examples include:

  • Transportation: Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have disrupted the traditional taxi industry, while electric scooter and bike rental companies like Lime and Bird have disrupted the traditional bike rental industry.
  • Retail: Online marketplaces and e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon and Alibaba, have disrupted the traditional retail industry by providing customers with more convenience and a wider selection of products.
  • Hospitality: Airbnb has disrupted the traditional hotel industry by offering a platform for individuals to rent out their homes or apartments as short-term rentals and providing customers with alternative accommodation options.
  • Banking: Online banking and payment platforms, such as PayPal and Venmo, have disrupted the traditional banking industry by providing customers with more convenient and secure ways to manage their finances.

Technology is always changing, and businesses, especially startups, need to be updated with new technologies to stay ahead of the competition and take advantage of new opportunities. This may involve keeping up with industry trends and developments and trying out new technologies as they become available.

Technology-driven disruptions can positively and negatively impact traditional industries and businesses. While they can create new opportunities and drive innovation, they can also disrupt established businesses and lead to job losses and other challenges.

Future of Entrepreneurship and Technology

The future of entrepreneurship and technology will likely be filled with many new changes and innovations. As technology improves, it will create new opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs and businesses, and new ways of doing things will emerge. Some of the key trends that will shape the future of entrepreneurship and technology include:   

  • The rise of e-commerce and digital marketplaces: The growth of e-commerce and the emergence of digital marketplaces are expected to continue as more consumers turn to online channels to purchase products and services. This trend is likely to create new opportunities for entrepreneurs to sell their products and services online, as well as challenge traditional business models.
  • The increasing popularity of remote work: The trend towards remote work is expected to continue, as technology makes it easier for individuals to work from anywhere. This trend is likely to drive the growth of virtual and remote work, as well as create new opportunities for entrepreneurs to start and run businesses from anywhere.
  • The emergence of new technologies: New technologies, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, Blockchain, and Metaverse, are expected to emerge and disrupt traditional industries. Entrepreneurs who can quickly adapt and leverage these technologies are likely to have a competitive advantage.
  • The importance of digital skills: As technology continues to advance, it will be increasingly important for entrepreneurs to have digital skills to stay competitive. This may involve staying current with emerging technologies, as well as being able to use digital tools and platforms effectively.

Technology can help smaller businesses compete with larger businesses because it gives them access to a wider audience. For example, according to a study by the World Bank, businesses that use the internet are more likely to grow and create jobs than businesses that don’t. Businesses that use the internet are 4.3 times more likely to innovate and 2.5 times more likely to export than businesses that do not.

However, SBs need to be adaptable and agile in the face of technological change, as failing to adapt can lead to obsolescence. This may involve staying current with emerging technologies and adopting new tools and platforms as they become available. It may also involve being open to changing business models and adapting to new market conditions.

The future of entrepreneurship and technology is going to be full of lots of change and new ideas. Entrepreneurs will use new technologies to create new products, services, value and grow their businesses.

Like many other countries, Somalia can benefit from the technology revolutionizing SBs and entrepreneurship trends. The use of technology can help level the playing field for SBs in Somalia by providing them with access to tools and platforms that allow them to reach a wider audience and compete with larger, established businesses. For example, adopting e-commerce and online marketing platforms can help SBs in Somalia sell their products and services to customers worldwide rather than being limited to a local market.

In addition, technology can enable entrepreneurs in Somalia to start and run businesses from anywhere, thanks to the increasing popularity of remote work. This can be especially beneficial in a country like Somalia, which faces challenges such as a lack of infrastructure and instability. By being able to work remotely, entrepreneurs in Somalia can bypass some of these challenges and focus on growing their businesses.

Finally, using technology can bring numerous benefits to SBs and entrepreneurship in Somalia, helping to drive economic growth and creating new opportunities for individuals and communities.

In conclusion, technology is revolutionizing the way SBs operate and the way we think about entrepreneurship. From the rise of e-commerce to the increasing popularity of remote work, technology creates new opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs. SBs need to stay up-to-date with technology and be adaptable and agile in the face of change to stay competitive.

The potential for technology to enable and enhance entrepreneurship in the future is vast. From the emergence of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, Blockchain, and the Metaverse, to the increasing importance of digital skills, technology is shaping the future of entrepreneurship in exciting ways. By adopting these technologies, Somali entrepreneurs can create innovative products and services that address the unique needs of their market. 

To take advantage of these opportunities and thrive in the digital age. By embracing technology and being open to change, entrepreneurs can create value and drive growth in the digital economy.

By: Mohamed Elmi Ahmed, Researcher

This article was first published on Somali Business Review

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