New options require new definitions for entrepreneurs. By Geri Stengel (Founder, Ventureneer)
“Tech-enabled business,” like “stay-at-home” Mom, are terms that have taken on new meanings for entrepreneurs.
And stay-at-home moms were women who gave up their careers to devote themselves to childcare and the PTA.
Neither definition fits anymore. In fact, tech-enabled businesses are often e-commerce sites run by women working from home so they can be both CEOs and full-time moms.
So “tech-enabled” no longer means geek-driven; stay-at-home no longer means not gainfully employed. Those work-from-home entrepreneurs are what give “tech-enabled business” its new meaning.
Online marketing, especially social media, has created a whole new range of business opportunities, from curated shopping advice to global markets for handicrafts, that are internet-based but not technologically challenging.
Don't discount the value of non-tech, tech-enabled businesses. Even if you aren't Facebook, you can still be a successful, high-growth, tech-enabled business. It’s called e-commerce but what do you call the people who start them?
All businesses are somewhat “tech-enabled” now; customers expect to find them, judge them, and do business with them online through websites or social media.
Yes, you do have to set up online payments, update your website and your social media pages, and pay attention to keywords but these don’t involve higher mathematics. They are no more difficult than learning to track payroll, manage your inventory, and hire well.
And what about a “stay-at-home” Mom? She isn’t unemployed; she may be the boss.
Phyllis Cheung runs LuxeFinds from home. She also home-schools her child. For more about Cheung, check out Building Relationships is Key to Women’s E-commerce Success.
Some have suggested “mom-preneur” as a replacement for stay-at-home CEO moms. Could be, but what about entrepreneurs who work from home but are not parents or even women?
Like Alice Wang does not have children but does have extensive experience in finance. She and Pegah Ebrahimi started Sparkbox Toys from home. The company allows parents to subscribe to monthly deliveries of age appropriate toys that are returned when no longer of interest to the child. It is environmentally friendly as well as mentally stimulating for the child. It has expanded beyond the confines of her home.
Or Matt McKee whose business, ROAR, is both tech-based and tech-enabled. He has developed apps for churches to consolidate social media and website information into mobile apps for both iOS and Android. He works mostly out of his home and Starbucks. (Has anyone ever done any research as to how much business is conducted from Starbucks?)
None of these businesses has a brick-and-mortar presence; they are all part of the e-commerce sector but what can we call the people behind these innovative businesses? Maybe the terms we’re looking for is “e-preneur” or “home-preneur” or “coffee-shop-preneur”… what’s your suggestion?
This post was originally posted at the Ventureneer.
About the guest blogger: Geri Stengel is Founder of Ventureneer, providing knowledge and resources for values driven businesses. She is a Kauffman FastTrac GrowthVenture facilitator, former adjunct professor of entrepreneurship, and past board member of the NYC Chapter of the National Association of Business Women Owners, she understands the unique challenges women entrepreneurs face when growing their beyond $1 million. Follow She blogs regularly at Vistas. Follow her on Twitter at @ventureneer.