“Joe The Plumber” has had his 15 minutes of fame, and then some. Our friends at Slate’s Bizbox blog for whom I regularly contribute went beyond the political rhetoric when they said Keep Helping Small Business.

And here’s why the new administration should do more for “Joe The Plumber” and all the other small businesses than tax credits. They will be an important part of the changing nature of the American business landscape according to a recent research study by Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks, and the Institute for the Future, a non-profit research organization.

The study, the Intuit Future of Small Business Report, gives us a peek into our future, when it says that by 2017, small businesses will be formed and run by a new and more diverse group of entrepreneurs, with a new outlook based on the changing nature of the American business landscape. Here’s a summary:

  • The Changing Face of Small Business

Entrepreneurs in the next decade will be far more diverse than their predecessors in age, origin, and gender. These shifts in small business ownership will create new opportunities for many, and will change both the will become increasingly common and diverse, new forms of small and personal U.S. and the global economy.

A new breed of entrepreneurs will emerge. Entrepreneurs will no longer come predominantly from the middle of the age spectrum, but instead from the edges.People nearing retirement and their children just entering the job market will become the most entrepreneurial generation ever.

Entrepreneurship will reflect an upswing in the number of women. The glass ceiling that has limited women’s corporate career paths will send more women to the small business sector.

Immigrant entrepreneurs will help drive a new wave of globalization. U.S. immigration policy and the outcome of the current immigration debates will affect how this segment performs over the next decade.

  • The Rise of Personal Businesses

Personal businesses—one person businesses with no employees—have become an important part of the U.S. economy and will increase in number over the next decade. The growth will be driven by shifts in larger company employment practices and changes in technology.

Contract workers and accidental and social entrepreneurs will fuel a proliferation of personal businesses. Economic, social, and technological change and an increased interest in flexible work schedules will produce a more independent workforce seeking a better work–life balance.