Entrepreneurs - Growth Enablers of a Nation
Entrepreneurs are a rare species that is now visible in plenty and I call them a national asset. They are the drivers of economic growth stemming from a dynamic process that not only increases the wealth quotient but helps in the creation of value impacting the lives of many. No wonder, Entrepreneurs are the game changers so it makes sense to understand, cultivate and support this asset to the extent possible.
Entrepreneurs are vital to the spirit of competitiveness of the economy. The benefits to society are far more where entrepreneurs are extended flexibility in operations, developing their passion, and benefitting monetarily in the process. Entrepreneurs often create new technologies, develop new products or process innovations, and open up new markets. There are many examples of radical innovations introduced by entrepreneurs such as Pierre Omidyar (eBay), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Dietmar Hopp and Hasso Plattner (SAP), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), and Stelios Haji-Ioannou (easyJet), to name just a few.
Entrepreneurs introduce innovations and induce economic growth. They offer key value in the contribution of economic progress by utilizing existing resources in the most effective ways. Have you heard of organizational inertia where well-established companies were overtaken by technology-driven innovative firms as they were slow in responding to market changes? Many firms have missed the bus of opportunity to work on new ideas owing to the fear of cannibalizing their own markets. On the other hand, for entrepreneurs setting up their own business generally appears to be the only way to commercialize their ideas.
Entrepreneurs intensify competition for existing business owners. This leads to price wars where the end customer is the beneficiary and has the option of greater product or service variety. There are certain market dynamics that get impacted like transfer of market share, and higher market mobility. This creation of new business by entrepreneurs leads to an indirect competition-enhancing effect wherein the established firm is forced to improve its performance.
Entrepreneurs have a positive effect on employment generation by creating job opportunities. Huge entry-level jobs assist in turning unskilled job-holders into skilled ones. It also prepares and provides experienced workers for large industries. The increase in the total employment of a country largely depends on the rise of entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship can also promote Social Change. They help break the traditional or cultural dependency on methods, systems, and mindsets. One of my acquaintances is into Women’s health where she talks about menstrual hygiene - hitherto fore a taboo subject to be discussed in normal conversations. She is breaking the traditional mindset and in her own small way changing the outlook of society. These changes are associated with improved lifestyle, generous thinking, better morale, and higher economic choice. In this way, social changes gradually impact national and global changes.
Self-employment is not necessarily associated with entrepreneurial activity. Remember these terms are not synonymous. Research has revealed that economies with a high level of self-employment are correlated with less development. Thus, a high level of self-employment does not necessarily correspond with a high level of entrepreneurial activity. Entrepreneurs have certain traits which differentiate them from the rest like tolerance for ambiguity, creativity, risk-taking ability, openness to experience, self-belief, and practice of self-leadership. They tend to be sociable and develop networks more easily to forge stronger partnerships.
Entrepreneurship is considered crucial to a dynamic economy. Entrepreneurs create employment opportunities not only for themselves but for others as well. Entrepreneurial activities may influence a country’s economic performance by bringing new products, methods, and production processes to the market and by boosting productivity and competition more broadly. Therefore, the need of the hour is to create institutions that contribute to an environment that is friendly to entrepreneurs. In particular, it is important to protect intellectual and other property rights, streamline and enforce commercial laws, improve the business climate, reduce regulatory burdens, and create a culture of bouncing back from failures. This is the new India I pray for the coming generations.