Intuit just released the first installment of a report called, "Future of Small Business." The report forecasts what the small business landscape will look like in the United States over the next 10 years, to 2017. And it is a fascinating picture: (1) More diversity -- Small businesses are more diverse than ever, with women starting businesses and immigrants refreshing the ranks of business owners. Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) -- their numbers are rising faster in small business than any other age group. This chart outlines the demographic characteristics of key small business owner segments (click image below to open PDF in new window): (2) Rise of the Personal Business -- The "personal business," which is a new term to describe a business with no employees, is growing in numbers and in economic influence. These businesses now number roughly 20 million. These personal businesses are a large presence in our economy. "Free agent" working relationships are now seen as more attractive by younger and older workers. (3) Entrepreneurial Education Grows -- Entrepreneurial education is growing, especially at the university level, with over 1,600 higher education institutions offering such entrepreneurship education in some fashion. More people starting businesses will have training in the skills necessary to be successful as an entrepreneur. And it's a good thing, because with the increasingly complex marketplace, they are going to need them. * * * * * I was fortunate to play a part in the development of this report. Last summer I participated in an expert workshop at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California. Professor Jeff Cornwall, over at the Entrepreneurial Mind, also was one of the participants, along with the rest of an impressive panel. It was stimulating and fun to share ideas. It is good to see that Intuit and the Institute for the Future are releasing the report publicly. Many educational institutions, economic development authorities, and even smaller vendors that sell to other small businesses, can get value out of this report. Download your copy of the first installment of the Intuit Future of Small Business Report.