Invisible Capital and Why We Need to Democratize Entrepreneurial Opportunity

Invisible capital is the toolkit of our skills, knowledge, networks, experiences and other resources, along with the set of assets we were born with.

Invisible capital is the toolkit of our skills, knowledge, networks, experiences and other resources, along with the set of assets we were born with: our race and gender, our familys wealth and status, the type of community in which we were raised, and the education we had as children. Some of these assets are xedwe cannot change who our parents are. Others are in our power to acquire or modify. What makes them invisible is that our society rarely acknowledges that entrepreneurial opportunitiesand thus entrepreneurial outcomes are greatly influenced by these assets.

You can predict which entrepreneurs will succeed with a fairly high degree of probability if you know some basic facts about them. And on the surface, race, gender, and the educational attainment and/or household income of their families seem like pretty obvious factors. Its simply easier for some people to succeed. The playing eld is not level.

If you want to become an entrepreneur, or help other entrepreneurs succeed, you have to be familiar with the terrain of the playing eld because it is neither smooth nor level. Additionally, you have to understand the rules of the game. Those rules are not written anywhere. A rulebook has yet to be written by the institutions most vocal and influential regarding the cause of entrepreneurship.

To understand the lay of the land and be able to effectively navigate the often hidden obstacles on a playing eld, you have to learn how the unseen forces that shape entrepreneurial opportunity work, in ways that even the winners in business may not fully appreciate.