What is Digital Entrepreneurship?

Publishing a book called Digital Entrepreneurship raises an obvious question: What is digital entrepreneurship?

Digital entrepreneurship is a term that describes how entrepreneurship will change, as business and society continue to be transformed by digital technology. Digital entrepreneurship highlights changes in entrepreneurial practice, theory, and education.

Digital entrepreneurship includes everything that is new and different about entrepreneurship in a digital world, including:

  • New ways of finding customers for entrepreneurial ventures.
  • New ways of designing and offering products, and services.
  • New ways of generating revenue, and reducing cost.
  • New opportunities to collaborate with platforms and partners.
  • New sources of opportunity, risk, and competitive advantage.

On a practical level, digital entrepreneurship opens up new possibilities for anyone thinking of becoming an entrepreneur. Some opportunities are more technical, but many others are within reach for anyone who learns the basic skills of digital entrepreneurship. These basic skills include finding new customers online, prototyping new business ideas, and improving business ideas based on data.

Beyond learning new practical skills, digital entrepreneurship is also about new ways of thinking about entrepreneurship itself—which is another way of saying it offers new theories of entrepreneurship. Digital entrepreneurship opens up new questions about strategy, opportunity, and risk. Does the best data win? How can I craft a business idea that can be prototyped digitally? How can I improve my business idea faster than anyone else? How can I easily switch between different business ideas, and revenue sources? What does it mean to be a global business from the first day? And why do people from around the world keep trying to break into my business?

In terms of education, digital entrepreneurship opens new possibilities to train the next generation of entrepreneurs. The best way to learn entrepreneurship is to ‘do it’, and reflect on that experience. Starting a new business, or launching a new product, in the normal world is costly and risky for beginners. The digital world not just lowers the barriers for starting something new, but offers a variety of pathways to success. It’s just a different world educationally from case studies, simulations, and business plans.

The exact definition of digital entrepreneurship is still being debated, partly because it’s early days, and partly because it’s a moving target. As digital technology evolves, what is new about digital entrepreneurship will change over time. Perhaps one day, most or all entrepreneurial ventures will be ‘born digital’, and digital entrepreneurship as a separate topic will cease to exist. Today, however, there’s a real need to better prepare entrepreneurs for the digital world, and to give more people a new path to entrepreneurship.

If you want to learn more about digital entrepreneurship, you’re in the right place.

JP Allen