ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND ENTREPRENEURS

ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND ENTREPRENEURS

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Entrepreneurship is the process of creating a business enterprise capable of entering new or established markets.

This can be one of the most exciting management challenges because successful entrepreneurship requires deploying resources and people in unique ways to develop a new organization.

An entrepreneur is an individual who creates an enterprise that becomes a new entry in the market. Broadly stated, an entrepreneur is anyone who recognizes an opportunity (by changing, revolutionizing, transforming or introducing new products or services), undertakes some innovative projects and bears some risk.

There are some myths about entrepreneurs. One common belief is that entrepreneurs possess certain innate traits that make them different from regular people, but many types of people with different personality characteristics have become successful entrepreneurs. In fact, many of them studied entrepreneurship as a discipline before launching a business because useful skills for entrepreneurs can be learned and practiced.

Another myth is to consider that only wealthy people can start a business. Many companies have been started by people with few resources and accumulated capital by putting in long hours without pay and reinvesting their profits in the business.

Although some of the most celebrated entrepreneurs were young when they started their business (Bill Gates - Microsoft, Steve Jobs - Apple, Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook), not all successful entrepreneurs were young when they got started. For instance, Harland Sanders was 65 when he started his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, and Herb Kelleher was 40 when he founded Southwest Airlines.

Finally, people tend to remember entrepreneurial success, but very often failure is a key part of the learning process. Entrepreneurs learn lessons that eventually lead to the creation of a successful company. For example Henry Ford founded two automotive companies that failed before he was able to gain success with the Ford Motor Company. At the time of his death, Ford’s estimated net worth was 188 billion dollars.

Steve Jobs was actually fired from Apple Computers, the company that he was responsible for making it the success it is today. When Jobs was fired from Apple, he was quoted as stating “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life”.

The importance of entrepreneurship

When entrepreneurs create a company, they are starting a basic unit of production that has a reflection on the economies of their countries, creating jobs, stimulating innovation and providing opportunities for diverse people in society.

Entrepreneurship creates jobs because the person who started the company creates his/her own job and, as the company grows, it will need more employees who receive salaries in return for their work. The individual income earned by these workers gives them the ability to satisfy their needs (paying for the products and services that they want) and governments can also improve their income by taxing the companies and workers in order to improve public services. Therefore, entrepreneurship impacts on the overall long-term economic health of communities, regions and nations, improving the whole of society’s quality of life.

Entrepreneurship is also responsible for introducing a major proportion of new and innovative products and services into the market. These enterprises are often started by visionary people who develop an innovative way of doing something faster, better, cheaper or with improved features, pioneering the design of new technologies that make older ones obsolete. The “creative destruction” process that characterizes innovation leads to technological changes and employment growth. Entrepreneurial companies act as “agents of change” by providing an essential source of new and unique ideas that may otherwise go untapped.

Consequently, entrepreneurship is not limited to starting a company. Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial innovation can occur in a variety of organizations. Entrepreneurship emerges under widely diverse circumstances, typically in response to new conditions and in pursuit of newly perceived opportunities, delivering traditional products or services or creating new combinations that result in novel technologies, products, services and operating practices—that is, substantial innovation.

Finally, people from diverse backgrounds who have experienced frustration and blocked career paths in large corporations can improve their economic status and pursue interesting careers by becoming entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship provides an attractive alternative for avoiding the unpleasant politics of organizations, gaining more challenges and autonomy or balancing work and family responsibilities, among other benefits.

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