Roughly 70 percent of new jobs globally–and as many as 90 percent in some emerging economies–come from new and small businesses. And according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 13 percent of the U.S. population, or an estimated 25 million people, are in the process of starting or running a new business. It is clear entrepreneurs fuel America’s economic future.
Last week, I had the great pleasure of joining the leaders of the nation’s fastest-growing companies at the Inc. 500|5000 Conference to recognize their success. The conference also marked a few milestones for Dell – our one year anniversary after going private and our 30th anniversary since Michael Dell started the company in his dorm room. I could not think of a better way for us to commemorate the return to our entrepreneurial roots than to join hundreds of the most promising entrepreneurs following in our founder’s footsteps.
It was a proud moment for all of us at Dell to see our founder and CEO headline the conference as one of the most influential figures to take the Inc. 500|5000 stage. Michael’s presence signifies more than our own entrepreneurial legacy– it demonstrates Dell’s commitment to igniting this entrepreneurial spirit across the globe. After successfully taking our company private this past year, Michael’s willingness to risk it all to keep the company’s focus solely on customers, invest in innovation and plan for the long-term provides an important lesson for emerging businesses. The move to privatization enables us to stay true to our founding purpose – empowering people and businesses everywhere with the technology and resources they need to realize their potential – and better help entrepreneurs grow and thrive.
Technology, like never before, is at the core of any young business and key to accelerating its growth. Throughout the conference, I heard incredible stories of entrepreneurship made possible through the power of technology. Entrepreneurs like Brandi Temple, founder and CEO of Lolly Wolly Doodle, who cracked the code on social commerce to grow her children’s clothing company into an $11 billion dollar business and Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World and “The Profit” fame overcame a troubled childhood to become an astute investor, business leader and TV phenomenon.
There is no doubt that today’s major IT trends – mobility, big data, security, cloud, internet of things – are powerful catalysts for businesses to rapidly achieve global scale. Almost every new idea I encountered was built on technology’s innovation engine, leveraging the agility of the cloud, flexibility of mobile and insights gained from big data analytics to leapfrog past previously capital-intensive hurdles. It is an exciting time to begin a new venture and to be in the position to develop the very technology enabling this business growth. And it is the opportunity for technology to unleash entrepreneurship that drives our relentless pursuit to provide the most affordable, efficient, scalable IT solutions to our customers today.
But that potential may not be fully realized unless entrepreneurs dare to fail. I was honored to introduce Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston and author of Daring Greatly, who spoke about what it takes for leaders to architect change. She shared that in order to fully tap into our potential for innovation and creativity, we must be vulnerable and open to the possibility of failure. That is what I believe the Inc. 500|5000 conference is all about, celebrating the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial journey and the courage to pursue a dream without knowing the outcome.
To do our part to support entrepreneurs throughout their journey, we created Dell for Entrepreneurs, an online community to help entrepreneurs not only access technology, but also the capital and networks they need to accelerate businesses. The resources we provide include the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN), the Dell Innovators Credit Fund and Dell Ventures. Michael will build on this commitment and make entrepreneurship a top priority on the global agenda as the first ever UN Foundation Global Advocate for Entrepreneurship.
When I think about the impact Dell has made since our beginning in 1984, I am filled with hope for our future and the future of all the companies on the Inc. 5,000 list. We’re excited to support entrepreneurs everywhere achieve their goals. Here’s to another thirty years, the best is yet to come!