Fed up with work? Want to be your own boss? Record numbers of us are looking to take the plunge and set up a business. So for all those wantrepreneurs out there, here are five sectors that could help kick-start your start-up.
E-learning has come a long way over the last decade but is still in its infancy when it comes to mass adoption and acceptance. That is likely to change over the next five years.
The key to unlocking material public and private educational budgets could well be adaptive learning. Personalised learning tools and aids that learn about your abilities and, based on your progress, tailor what to teach you next, could lead to a self-made educational revolution.
In the corporate world too, e-learning courses have a lot of growing up to do. Relatively low adoption and lack of engagement and innovation have dogged early results - with most, in reality, being little more than a souped-up version of old fashioned paper and pen-based learning.
Here, as in education, the secret is likely to be the adoption of gamification principles used so successfully in the apps we all download and use every day.
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In start-ups they can make e-learning fun, challenging and rewarding, to enable students to graduate with flying colours.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), aimed at providing mass-market open-access learning opportunities through sharing information and educational materials, as well as building communities for students and teachers, are also likely to open up very interesting new business models and opportunities.
The rising cost of education creates demand for more useful and cost-effective vocational training and specialised skills for a new economy - all major business opportunities.
The current health care system is under huge pressure. It is crying out for innovative solutions to help diagnose, treat and prevent illness - to deflate ballooning healthcare budgets.
Already mobile apps and connected devices are promising to significantly improve productivity. It is likely more and more health services will be delivered through intelligent hardware and software.
['Running a pub isn't easy but it can be done']
Wellness and fitness applications are also picking up speed.
From the all-too-regular announcements of NHS funding problems and care crises across a multitude of disciplines, it is clear that something has to change. Start-ups that want to change the world would do well to start here.
Talked about for some time, wearable technology has now come into fashion.
Glasses, watches, sensors - the number of wearable devices is predicted to rise ten-fold in the next five years.
So far devices have been fairly gimmicky - offering ways to track how far you have walked or alert you to the latest Facebook updates.
But the big brands such as Google, Sony and Samsung are already latching onto wearable tech’s appeal - a major theme coming out of the recent Las Vegas consumer electronics gathering. This is because the smart money is on wearable tech transforming a large part of the smartphone market in the future.
['I taught myself web-coding by reading a book']
Innovative start-ups that tap into this trend could be a good fit.
Augmented reality, which overlays objects, images and information over the real world could be a game changer, as could start-ups that tap into the quantified self - devices that measure what we do and how healthy we are, with the view that the more self aware we are, the more we do to improve ourselves.
Another sector that has grabbed its fair share of hype and hyperbole - but over the next five years it is likely to grow from gimmick to goliath. Clever start-ups can get in at the start of a manufacturing revolution.
3-D printing refers to a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape, from a digital model. At the moment the reality is far from the dream - with affordable printers only able to produce simple, one colour, one material objects. But the industry is evolving - with the vision to produce anything from personalised shoes to car parts to prosthetic limbs, all at the touch of a button.
It is not just the direct 3D-printing element that provides the promised land for start-ups, it is the industries that will spring up because of the new technology, offering personalised, tailored products and services and on-demand delivery.
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Mobile customer engagement
Wearable tech might be the in fashion, but you only have to look at how addicted we have become to our smartphones, tapping away on the train, bus, in the street – to know there remains a huge opportunity and potential market for start-ups.
The next big battleground, so far largely untapped by Google and major brands, is personalised location-based customer engagement - real time, real world communication: mobile purchases and e-commerce, instant customer feedback, real time offers and deals, instant interactive information – services and tools that engage consumers and give them something back in return for their engagement.
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Wooshping, which allows businesses and consumers to interact with a tap of the phone at events, venues or on the high street, is an example of a start-up, which I help, that is taking advantage of this growing opportunity.
So there you have it. Five sectors ripe for change, disruption, opportunity, growth…what are you waiting for?
Andy Yates is an experienced entrepreneur, adviser for a portfolio of fast growing businesses and investor-director at Huddlebuy.co.uk - Europe’s largest daily money-saving site for small businesses.
Follow Andy on Twitter: @smallbizhelp
Follow Huddlebuy on Twitter: @huddlebuy