As we hit the middle of the year and the beginning of summer, America’s colleges are closing for their annual break and thousands of students across the country are graduating for good. It’s an important time for the next generation of the country’s economic drivers, but in a world that’s in flux, more and more college graduates are tending towards entrepreneurship. With that in mind, what are the industries that are the healthiest in 2017 and best-positioned to accept new players?
We take a look at five standouts, from modern industries that didn’t exist fifty years ago to niches that are time immemorial and growing more than ever.
1. Video games
In the 1970s and 1980s, video games were seen as toys for children. In the nineties and early 2000s, they were decried for inciting violence in teenagers. But today in 2017 video games stand tall as the hottest entertainment property on the planet, outstripping Hollywood and all of music without breaking a sweat. The industry is worth between $90 and $100 billion, and as much as a fifth of that money resides in the United States.
The popularity of traditional consoles coupled with the proliferation of free-to-play titles and the emergence of VR makes gaming as platform-diverse as cinema, TV or music - and lucrative for developers of any size.
Traditionally, established teams receive the backing of big publishers but indie developers can strike gold too.
Video gaming is growing at a rapid rate and showing no sign of slowing, and with free programs like Unity, it’s possible to make a games on minuscule budgets and reach captives audiences over the internet.
2. Virtual reality
It’s rare that you’ll find an industry where demand outstrips supply, but with the recent emergence of VR, gaming powerhouses like Sony are searching for ways to double down on their new tech.
Sony alone sold close to one million VR headsets from October 2016 to February 2017, and yet they’re in the curious position of having very little software of value to keep that tech in use.
According to one estimate, the VR market is project to reach a value of $1.7 billion in 2017, and increase to a whopping $24.5 billion in 2020, but with few entertainment experiences being developed, there’s an opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs/developers to start making a splash.
Again, like point number 1, Unity is a perfectly good way to get started.
3. Language services and translation
Here’s where things get interesting. You’re probably thinking that language and translation work is old hat and that Google and other tech giants have the game sown up.
But it’s precisely this interest from Google and co. that makes the language services market the 4th fastest-growing industry in America, and one of Inc. Magazine’s top start-up choices for new entrepreneurs.
As Google itself stated in a July 2015 blog post on the topic, they still have lots of work to do. “More than half of the content on the Internet is in English, but only 20% of the world’s population speaks English,” the search engine giant admitted.
In America alone, there are over 350 languages spoken in American homes, while 24/7 Wall Street estimates the sector grew by 168.5% from 2006-2015, with wages going up year on year.
4. Caring for the elderly
There’s money in caring for the elderly? You bet.
According to 24/7 Wall Street, “no industry has grown more over the past decade than in services for the elderly and disabled.”
Growth in this market has been phenomenal, with employment up 199.8% from 2006-2015 and over a million Americans working in the industry today.
Demand is up too. If the U.S. Census Bureau is accurate, 2020 will be the first year in history Americans 65+ outnumber children 5 and under.
America is embracing the global upsurge in specialty craft beers and the industry has enjoyed year on year growth in the US for a decade, making it a viable entrepreneurial pursuit for someone with the passion to bring it to life.
A microbrewery is classed as a brewery that produces fewer than 15,000 barrels of beer per year. Traditionally, microbrewers sell their fare to retailers or wholesalers, but brands are also free to sell directly to the customer or benefit from tap-room and restaurant sales.
Specialty craft beers enjoy 12.3% of the market share (2016), a figure that has grown from 5.7% in 2011.
According to Mintel.com, the craft beer industry has tapped in to a 25-34 demographic who care about their image - and that extends to the brew they drink.