Creating an entrepreneurial future
- Written by Cecilia Hegarty
As the story in figure 1 illustrates entrepreneurship is not simply about fame and fortune. The difference between business owners and entrepreneurs is that for the entrepreneur the business becomes an extension of their personality. Similarly
Figure 1: What is entrepreneurship really about?
|Henry Ford (General Motors) once asked a young car engineer to name his chief ambition in life. The young man said it was to become very rich. Everything else was secondary. Sometime later Mr Ford gave the employee a small package. When opened it revealed a pair of metal-rimmed spectacles, but in place of the lenses was a pair of silver dollars. “Put them on” Ford Requested. And the young man did. “Now what do you see?” Ford asked. “Nothing,” the engineer replied, “the money blocks out everything. “Maybe you should rethink that ambition of yours” said the famous carmaker and walked away.|
Entrepreneurship is not always about new inventions or business start-ups. Entrepreneurs are passionate about what they do and will often sell-off or even loose a business they become dispassionate about.
Entrepreneurial-minded individuals act as change agents and are capable of making significant contributions whether economic or social, within a new venture or an existing organisation. Within a new venture, entrepreneurs can be novices or can accumulate different businesses (portfolio entrepreneurs) or start many businesses but sell them on to build others (serial entrepreneurs). Recently there has been a focus on entrepreneurial teams, those that can achieve more together and have an international focus from the start. They are termed ‘born globals'. Within existing organisations, entrepreneurial-minded people are sometimes referred to as ‘intrapreneurs'. Being intrapreneurial can be as challenging as entrepreneurial because the individual desires to create change in agreement with others of equal authority. For instance, you can imagine the challenges associated with being a change agent in the National Health Service or in establishing a new project within a small divided community.
Entrepreneurship will mean different things to different people in different situations but at its core are attitude, creativity, relationships and opportunity.
Figure 2: Core elements of being entrepreneurial-minded
The model illustrated in figure 2 suggests:
Tip: Record yourself interacting with others in an everyday situation – you may behave differently than you think.
Tip: We commonly think in logical terms, practice thinking laterally, as the old proverb goes: if everyone is thinking the same, no one is thinking.
Tip: Watch others and see how they behave in different situations, matching their behavior (same language, tonality, and gestures) can build rapport. Remember, people use one of three primary senses to communicate visual, auditory and feelings.
It is important to remember, ideas are two-a-penny, we have lots of ideas all the time, ideas need to be shared and developed in order to become feasible. New opportunities can arise from changes in customer tastes, company capabilities or indirect changes happening in the marketplace. Entrepreneurs must be resourceful in order to access timely and relevant information.
In summary entrepreneurship and enterprise are a set of transferable skills, represented by the ability to contribute to organisational well being. Entrepreneurs in the widest sense are people who develop an entrepreneurial mind set and apply this in whatever environment they find themselves in. Today's graduates are entering a dynamic marketplace, changing jobs and even career orientation more than past graduates.
Coupled with the change in opportunities within the Dairy and Food sectors (See figure 3), individuals need to be aware of their entrepreneurial capacity or competencies.
Figure 3: Opportunities within Dairy and Food sectors
As the world has grown richer, farming more intensive and agricultural research more sophisticated we have concentrated food production on just a few varieties. Ninety-five percent of the world's calories now come from only 30 crops, and fifty per cent form just four: rice, maize, wheat and potato…
Entrepreneurial skills set
There is now recognition that entrepreneurship can be taught through skills-based initiatives. Education policy makers consider that entrepreneurial thought must begin before further and higher education, it must start at home and at school. Young people need to leave education understanding how organisations operate - this goes beyond knowing how to start a business, public policy has moved towards putting entrepreneurship, as a life-skill, at the heart of the education system. Figure 4 highlights the skills set that enterprise education and training programmes in NI are seeking to develop and enhance in graduates.
Figure 4: Entrepreneurial skills set.
• To improve (self-) employability
• To gain knowledge about the business world
• To develop creative/innovative potential
• To be more resourceful
• To find new ways of doing things/problem-solving
• To understand leadership
• To be a better team player
• To be a better communicator
• To generate awareness of self-others
• To think about/develop a personal developmentplan/career portfolio
Most economic policies within the European Union go beyond moving their country up the GEM league table. Economic policy focuses on encouraging people from all walks of life to engage in (a) entrepreneurial activity within existing enterprises and (b) starting and growing businesses. The development agencies charged with delivering policy seek to: