Small businesses across the U.S. are about to get a facelift.A study sponsored by business software provider Intuit and written by the Institute for the Future, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based nonprofit research group, found that by 2017, small business entrepreneurs will reflect a more diversified, educated population. The white middle-aged male, who for decades was the dominant demographic in American business, will be outnumbered by people near retirement and their children, who are just starting careers.

The next decade will introduce an "era of economic decentralization," which will include professional women tired of hitting the glass ceiling, immigrants, "mompreneurs" looking for part-time work and intellectual stimulation while they stay at home, passionate Baby Boomers who aren't ready to retire yet, and Gen Y-ers (those born after 1982) who think that freelancing and contract work is more exciting and satisfying than a corporate post.

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