May 19, 2013
Ever since I completed my first degree, we have been bombarded with the apparent reality that there are not enough jobs for everyone. There has also been the bombardment of the idea that working for someone is somewhat limiting: financially, in terms of degree of influence etc. I have heard young men recount the outcome of their fathers’ lives and determine with much emotion that they will not repeat history. Nice as it may seem, obviously not everyone has the capacity or desire to start their own business. If everyone starts their own business, who would work for them? Assuming the Entrepreneurs are somewhat some chosen set you find that everyone working for you will be working with the plan to leave you soon to start their own businesses. How stable your business is!
Now who is an Entrepreneur really? Someone who can sell stuff? Someone who can start a business? Someone who can make money? I do not think an Entrepreneur is merely a business man or a person who has the ‘skill’ to make money. I think an Entrepreneur is someone who can add additional value to life and lives by innovating. If you know some history, you will realize that massive businesses today did not really start out trying to make money; they started out with a vision to deliver something new to the world.
I realize also that an Entrepreneur does not always own a business. It has something to do with the way one thinks. There is an ancient Jew who lived in Egypt between 1550 and 1400 BC., his name was Yosef. He sustained the entire known world by designing a system which saved food during seven years of abundance in preparation for the subsequent seven years of famine. In the course of it he made a lot of money for the Egyptian monarchy by selling grains to citizens as well as foreigners. He did not start a business, he was working for the Pharaoh of Egypt but he made an impact in the world. His impact was so significant that his father’s burial was called Abel Mizraim’(‘the outcry of Egypt’). Remember: He was a Jew.
A few years ago, I eavesdropped on a discussed between a few colleagues back home in Nigeria. The issue was that one of them wanted to request for stationary or something and it appeared it had not been long when he made the last request. The other speaker mentioned that if he owned his own company he would not be pleased if his staff came to him every now and then asking for “pens”. When I heard that I said to myself that he would be an entrepreneur because he was thinking like one. He understood ownership. The typical “worker” does not understand ownership, he merely looks forward to his monthly salary.
In conclusion, you can be an entrepreneur by your capacity to deliver innovation whether it is for yourself or for another. You deliver value through innovation and people pay for it, even your employer if you can bargain properly. Entrepreneurship is the desire, capacity and effort directed at delivering value through invention and innovation.