The landscape of entrepreneurship has changed at such a rapid pace, it’s easy to forget that some of the biggest new industries didn’t even exist as little as a decade ago. We take a look at five innovative new industries that are growing rapidly, the key players in each, and the skills and qualities you need to take part.
The Sharing economy
Key Players: Uber, AirBnB, Deliveroo
Initially dismissed in some corners as an unsustainable fad, the sharing economy is evolving and expanding at such a rate that it appears to be here to stay. (It’s probably not entirely accurate to include the sharing economy on a list of industries, as it is more of a concept that is shaking up and changing multiple industries that already exist.)
Similar to the digital peer-to-peer model employed by pioneers like eBay, the sharing economy allows individual freedom to set up within a network and consumers to directly connect to the provider of the service. Technology has given providers the freedom to reduce costs and make services available on a much wider scale. It’s hard to pin down exactly how much the entire industry is worth, but the rental market alone being worth $26billion should give you an idea of the sheer scale and growth opportunities.
Skills and qualities required:
- Customer service focus
- Empathy and interpersonal skills
Vlogging and new media
Key players: Zoella, Chase Jarvis, Tanya Burr
If you want rapid, profit-making success before you hit your thirties, vlogging might be the path for you. The rise in popularity of YouTubers and Vloggers, made music, fashion, comedy and political commentary stars of its most charismatic and confident users. In fact, even established stars of the TV screen have turned to vlogging and have found new outlets via their online video channels.
How did these new media stars come to earn so much money? Vloggers are unique in that they are able to build up a following based on a more intimate relationship with the personality on the screen. They talk about their experiences, the ups and the downs, often from their own bedrooms or studies, providing a sense of intimacy and trust that brands could only dream of, and so they were able to command huge fees for any brand association or product endorsement.
Vlogging and new media have also become a source of alternative news and current affairs commentary; as channels for everyday people to discuss issues that affect them in more depth, or those that perhaps aren’t being explored in general media. However, there is the danger of spreading misinformation, fake news and dangerous propaganda. There have also been concerns raised about the transparency of bloggers who take on brand endorsements, which is starting to shake the trust relationship that has been so vital in the rise of the vlogger. Regulators and lawmakers are likely going to be playing a big part in this industry as time goes on.
Key skills and qualities required:
- An engaging personality
- Photography/video editing skills
- Life experience and a story to tell
- Legal and/or media regulatory experience
Key players: Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung
The newness of the concept can be quibbled over, depending on how you define wearable tech. It can be argued that it is something that has always existed in some form, with pocket watches and even abacus rings as historical examples! But the wearable tech industry as we know it started to take hold around 2004, in particular with launch of GoPro. Then along came the smartwatches, with Apple and Nike starting to develop mobile phone watches in the late 2000s.
It didn’t take off immediately, but Apple’s iWatch was seized by Apple fans. Now Fitbits and other health and distance monitoring devices are taking over our lives, limbs and garments. The wearable tech industry is forecasted to be worth $34billion by 2020, with current wearable technology business value around $14billion. And with other applications including head mounted displays brought into the mainstream by the likes of Samsung, wearables are well on their way past the faddy novelty stage and are becoming an integrated part of our lives.
Key skills and qualities:
- Software engineering
- Apparel design
- Health and fitness expertise
- Problem solving, solution-driven