Four Up and Coming Industries

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Looking for the best industries in which to start a business or launch a new career? As the economy bounces back, Americans are finding jobs and running successful businesses in several high-growth areas. While Silicon Valley tech industries are well represented in growth sectors, several surprising up-and-coming industries are poised to soar in the next few years.

Food E-Commerce Gains Traction

Food is a trillion-dollar industry in the U.S., thanks to a surge in foodie culture. The overall growth is likely driven in part by popular food-centric TV networks and the increasing spotlight on celebrity chefs, but until recently food e-commerce has represented only a fraction of the industry. That is changing fast.

Blue Apron, a start-up valued at $500-million, has made waves with its meal subscription service. It is now joined by a number of growing competitors, like Hello Fresh – a company that distinguishes itself with “healthier” recipes and local ingredients. Even though it entered into an ever more crowded field, Hello Fresh recently received a $126 million investment. Larger companies like Amazon are also getting into the game – the Amazon Fresh program is joining a growing sector of grocery delivery services like well-funded Instacart. Specialty foods, concierge shopping, and subscription meal services are emerging leaders, evidenced by the fact that one-fourth of U.S. adults have purchased specialty foods online.

Benefits, Retirement, and Pension Plan Administration Grows

As the baby boomer generation enters retirement in unprecedented numbers, retirement and pension plan administrators are feeling the strain. More than a quarter-million people turn 65 each month, triggering higher demand on a variety of third-party benefits services. In addition to pensions and retirement plans, people are tapping supplemental insurance and disability plans at a higher than usual rate.

Businesses are increasingly outsourcing their benefits administration to cut costs, another reason the industry is growing. According to IBISWorld, a market research analysis firm, growth in retirement and pension plan administration could increase more than 130 percent between 2010 and 2019.

Fantasy Sports and Related Game Services Interests Explode

The wide availability of Wi-Fi and mobile connections, plus an exploding interest in fantasy sports, is fueling this high-growth industry. Close to 33 million people, including more than 6.4 million women, played fantasy football in 2014. Currently estimated at $1.4 billion, the industry is expected to grow more than 7 percent a year to $2 billion by 2020. Investors valued popular fantasy site FanDuel, in its latest investment round, at $1 billion.

While the industry requires its share of creative types and software developers, this field will also need a raft of business executives with MBA degrees who can navigate tricky capitalization requirements and compete in a world dominated by major players, such as Yahoo and ESPN.

Home Health Care Continues Hearty Growth

Several factors converged to deliver high growth in the health care niche, including incentives for in-home care included in President Barack Obama’s health care law and America’s increasingly aging population. At the beginning of the decade, home health care employed about 1.1 million people. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that number to be nearly 2 million by 2020.

Home health care is also the fastest growing niche in the franchise market. On the Forbes list of best franchises to own, three of the top 10 are health care franchises. Overall, the number of health care franchise locations jumped from about 300 in 2001 to more than 6,000 today.

If you’re looking for industries that have potential for financial rewards and career advancement, the four up-and-coming industries mentioned above offer desirable opportunities, particularly for MBA grads.