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TheStreet Open House

Six Fast-Growing Markets for Small Business

LOS ANGELES ( TheStreet) -- Hindsight is always 20/20 when it comes to starting new businesses. Who knew, back in the day, that online pet supply store Pets.com would flop, while eBay (EBAY) -- which this week auctioned an "empty Altoid box believed to have magic properties" -- would thrive?

Entrepreneurs can mitigate risk by going where the action is. To that end, here are the business categories expected to grow fastest during the next decade, according to the market research company IBISWorld, which analyzes 708 industries.

6. Video games (predicted growth: 112.9%) -- Led by Activision Blizzard's (ATVI) Call of Duty 3, U.S. sales of video games and gear has more than doubled to $19.66 billion last year from $7.98 billion in 2000, according to market researcher NPD Group. IBISWorld expects the boom to continue, but entrepreneurs should note that the video game rental industry is expected to shrink by 32.8%.

5. Environmental consulting (predicted growth: 120.3%) -- It's probably a pretty safe bet that nobody's aiming to be less green in the coming decade, and it's probably a safe bet that we'll continue to see an increase in environmental regulations and incentives from the federal government. And it's probably a safe bet that a lot of companies have no idea how to clean up their acts, which is where environmental consultants come into play.

4. eCommerce and online auctions (predicted growth: 124.7%) -- While it took a hit during the recent recession, the industry grew fivefold in the past decade and it's still growing. IBISWorld attributes expected escalation in this sector to the fact that more consumers are comfortable with PayPal, the eBay subsidiary that processes payments for thousands of online vendors. So Grandma can go ahead and sell her mittens on the Web without having to worry about credit card-related security issues.

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