By: Tamiko G
Recently I read a journal article that stated entrepreneurship was a failed endeavor. The article referenced a specific geographic region and the opinion that entrepreneurial investment failed to meet desired outcomes. Specific metrics and goals were connected to monetary growth, and the figurehead of success was Elon Musk. My reaction was one of shock and disappointment. The shock came in three waves: comparison against a singular man within the category of the world’s wealthiest, the rejection of monetary and social gains made by common people, and the possibility of discouraging fledgling entrepreneurs. Elon Musk is an inspirational figure, as he displays growth and advancement resulting from an inquisitive mind, the limitless pursuit of knowledge, and commitment to one’s dream. Having said that, the resulting wealth from his entrepreneurial endeavors is unattainable to the average person.
Economist and social entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh developed a formalized system of microloans and microcredits given to individuals too poor to meet traditional lending requirements, resulting in his winning a Nobel Peace Prize. While Grameen Bank was not without detractors relating to questionable financial lending practices and feasibility amongst the poorest of the poor, it allowed the most vulnerable of global societies to gain a foothold in combatting crushing poverty. Individuals became entrepreneurs and made the pivotal shift from consumer to producer.
Many communities have created informal savings schemes, where participants received rotating payouts to develop entrepreneurial services. They purchased sewing machines to become seamstresses and tailors, baking molds to create ornate cakes for weddings and private parties, industrial-grade cooking supplies for food catering, tools for auto mechanic repair shops, or merchandise to stock convenience stores. The possibilities are limitless and generate income to supplement low-paying jobs. The common thread linking formal microcredit and informal savings systems is a desire to generate income for personal goals, elevate social status, and create opportunities for generational wealth.
The danger of stating that lending and credit schemes are unsuccessful with Elon Musk as the benchmark of success is highly incorrect and problematic. With global economic uncertainty due to Covid-19 entire industries have been decimated, with the loss of jobs creating a tsunami of financial and social uncertainty. Entrepreneurism is poised to bridge the gap between job loss and sustainability in the private sector.
The solution to future misunderstandings regarding entrepreneurism is an overhaul surrounding training and education. First and foremost, entrepreneurism must not focus exclusively upon the race for singularity, in terms of innovation. While driverless cars and cryptocurrency are monumental achievements, childcare services, organically grown food, and financial literacy workshops are equally respectable.
Fundamentally, successful entrepreneurs have learned to serve the basics of human needs: food, clothing, and shelter. Expanding a vision through the framework of a practical curriculum will allow potential entrepreneurs to tap into the needs of respective client bases and translate personal innovation into measurable gains. Curricula inclusive of factors such as time management, cultural competency, and expectations within targeted markets will foster the sustainability of the entrepreneur. These points might appear repetitive to those well versed in marketing and communications, but they are new concepts to emerging global entrepreneurs and deserve to be highlighted in pursuit of measurable metrics of success and targeted funding in the industry.