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B. Entrepreneurship

➢ How do you understand the notion “entrepreneur”?

➢ What personal qualities and skills do you think an entrepreneur needs?

➢ What sacrifices do you think he has to make in his life to succeed in business?

➢ Have you ever had vague ideas for new products and services, and later seen them developed by an entrepreneur or an established company?

Read the article.

Risky business[11]


Nowadays no politician in the western world can do anything other than support free enterprise. So you should use discretion, staying the very epitome of cool, and not lose any sleep over who wins, for example, the next general election in Britain because it will still be possible to do business there.

However Britain’s entrepreneurs will be changing.

Though increased global competition is forcing large companies to consider more venturesome ways of stimulating product ideas and turn to internal entrepreneurs for breakthrough innovations, the failure to reap stable benefits halts British quest on this arena.

In 2005, thanks partly to the expanding of the European Union, more and more successful entrepreneurs in Britain will not have been born there. Immigrants tend to have a natural propensity for being more dynamic and taking risk of leaving their homeland for a better future. More people will start real business on less than glamorous sectors.

It’s worth welcoming as Britain along with other European countries needs many more smaller entrepreneurs since they, in large numbers, can change the dynamics of the whole economy. It also needs high-profile role models, who inspire youngsters to start their own business.

However the term “entrepreneur” deserves scrutinizing. The politicians will speculate a lot about “entrepreneurs” and enterprise culture, but few will really understand what true entrepreneurship means. The dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes, operates and assumes the risk for a business venture”, so the term should not be used for people who take risks with other people’s money. “Entrepreneurial CEO”, a phrase sometimes applied to corporate high-fliers, is a contradiction in terms. They should be called managers and, unless the laws are broken, they walk away from failed ventures wealthier than when they started by at least the amount of their salary. The only true entrepreneurs are the ones who embark on a business venture knowing that they may end up poorer than when they started.

The term entrepreneur was invented by the French but their economy, with a nanny state and heavy social and legal penalties for failure, has created a nation predisposed to risk-aversion whose dream as youngsters is more often to work for the government than to start a business.

In countries with a strong socialist background, like Greece, one sees a preponderance of another type of entrepreneur: the type that excels at servicing one customer only, the government. However they are quite often berated by their own compatriots. Their business activity is considered to be reprehensible. The problem with these people, in the eyes of the public at least, is that they profit at the expense of the taxpayer, thanks to unscrupulous politicians; rightly or wrongly, they tend to be seen as the bad guys, exploiting the system. The real problem for the economy is that fewer young people have the desire to risk any of their own money to become real entrepreneurs.

For various national reasons young people choose Britain to launch their ventures as they are convinced that Britain has the optimum legal system in Europe, one that you can trust to sue the so-called flag-carrier airline and still get a fair hearing. This would hardly be the case in Greece, or even France or Germany.

Paradoxically they find British society much more open than even some Brits would admit, accepting someone with an unpronounceable surname and a Greek accent to launch an airline which they are happy to trust with their lives. In the years to come the French and the Germans are likely to be less receptive to foreign entrepreneurs than the British.

But any British complacency would be misguided. The country still lags far behind America in entrepreneurial spirit. British attitude to risk is still a detriment.

If you are not failing occasionally, you are not taking enough risk and there is no reward without risk. In America a past business failure is almost a badge of resilience and honour (Donald Trump’s status as a star of reality TV’s “the Apprentice” soars even as one of his listed companies announces impending bankruptcy). In Britain it is a lasting handicap. There are prospects of changes in the law to destigmatise non-fraudulent business failure. But it will take more than that to alter the nation’s attitude to business failure. The problem lies deep in the British psyche: what will always stand in the way of entrepreneurship is that “Brits all love the underdog until he or she succeeds and then they love to shoot them down”. This will not change soon.

What about other predictions? In the years to come entrepreneurship will continue to be addictive, as once you start it’s difficult to stop.


Date: 2015-12-24; view: 1166

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