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Creating the Microcosm to Grow Entrepreneurs

madisharmaWe were all born entrepreneurs, people who could turn ideas into action, but we were not all born to start businesses. However, if we have more business start-ups, we create more jobs, more innovation to solve global challenges and ultimately deliver more sustainable growth for mankind with little effort. So what is the hindrance? Here I know I am going to make enemies from some readers. The inhibiting factors are education, business support and policy. We need to create an environment conducive to creating more businesses and minimise the barriers which discourage entrepreneurs.

We need to bring the fundamentals of entrepreneurship into the classroom. We need to stop preventing students from being creative and allow them to question what and how they are being taught. Business schools themselves block innovation by implementing ‘business plans’ - essays about a hypothetical business which require predictions for the next five years and which are built on assumptions.

For me, worst of all, after the politicians, who should be kept well away from entrepreneurship, are in fact, the business associations and support organisations themselves. Most business support personnel have never run their own business, or if they have, they failed and gave up. Most get paid a higher salary than the income of a small business owner and the only real knowledge they may have is how to access Government funds!

The powerful business associations are becoming bureaucratic lobbyists for big business, who would happily push out new and small players rather than supporting their growth! As their personnel are not real business people either, we now have the stereotype issues of red tape and access to finance as being the key issues facing businesses today, instead of identifying real solutions for growth. It is worth noting that the few business associations and chambers of commerce that represent the small businesses and who understand the issues, are often so underfunded that they can never raise their voices above the big players representing multinational giants. So what is the solution? ‘Think Small First’. Actually it is the business school concepts of ‘incubators’ or ‘hubs’, but not run by civil servants, business schools or associations.

The solution is the creation of ‘Idea Factories’. Places where people with ideas can go, share their concepts with like-minded people and build their projects/businesses in a safe and entrepreneurial environment. If we could utilise the huge empty factories that sit unoccupied in towns, input resources and working spaces we could create microcosms of activity that could explode into business parks, jobs and growth. Advice could be on hand from chambers of commerce, universities and of course, mentors and investors, plus from other entrepreneurs.

Government must ensure bank funding is released to support new and growing companies, and supply relevant funding for public-private partnerships into such ‘Idea Incubators’ rather than into selective funding for business support associations or bigticket investment projects.

I know this is not a new idea; it is how I managed to get the first food park built in Nottingham, UK (www.foodanddrinkforum.co.uk). However, when we see so many disused properties and so many frustrated entrepreneurs, I have to once again raise this simple solution as the one that could get us of out of the ‘crisis of business growth’ we currently have globally.
Published on 21-10-2013 11:28 by Madi Sharma. 1023 page views

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