Entrepreneurship: What does it REALLY mean?

Introduction:

In a world where ideas drive economies, it is no wonder that innovation and entrepreneurship are often seen as inseparable bedfellows. The governments around the world are starting to realize that in order to sustain progress and improve a country’s economy, the people have to be encouraged and trained to think out-of-the-box and be constantly developing innovative products and services. The once feasible ways of doing business are no longer guarantees for future economic success!

In response to this inevitable change, some governments are rethinking the way the young are educated by infusing creative thinking and innovation in their nation’s educational curriculum. In the same vein, they are putting much emphasis on the need to train future entrepreneurs through infusing entrepreneurship components within the educational system, especially at the tertiary level.

Some countries have taken this initiative to a higher level by introducing entrepreneurship education at elementary schools and encouraging them to be future entrepreneurs when they are of age. In a series of survey funded by Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, it was found that nearly seven out of 10 youths (aged 14-19) were interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

Being an entrepreneur is now the choice of the new generation as compared to the preferred career choices of yesteryears such as being a doctor, lawyer or a fighter pilot. In a recent visit to the bustling city of Shanghai in China, an informal survey was carried out among Chinese youths by the author. The results of the survey showed that being an entrepreneur, especially in the field of computer and e-commerce, is perceived as a ‘cool’ career and is an aspiration for many Chinese youths Prior to the ‘opening up’ of modern China, being an entrepreneur was perceived as the outcome of one’s inability to hold a good government job and those who dared to venture, were often scorned at by their peers. Times have indeed changed.

With this change in mindset and the relative knowledge that entrepreneurs bring forth increased job creations, the awareness and academic studies of entrepreneurship have also heightened. In many tertiary institutes, many courses of entrepreneurship and innovation are being developed and offered to cater to the increasing demand. The term “entrepreneurship” has also evolved with numerous variations. The proliferation of jargons such as netpreneur, biotechpreneur, technopreneur and multipreneur are coined to keep up with the ever-changing times and business conditions that surround us.

In view of these changes, it is important that the definition of entrepreneurship be refined or redefined to enable its application in this 21st century. To put it succinctly, “Good science has to begin with good definitions (Bygrave & Hofer, 1991, p13).” Without the proper definition, it will be laborious for policymakers to develop successful programs to inculcate entrepreneurial qualities in their people and organizations within their country.

The paper will provide a summary of the definitions of entrepreneurship provided by scholars in this subject area. The author will also expand on one of the definitions by Joseph Schumpeter to create a better understanding of the definition of the term “entrepreneurship” as applied in today’s business world.

Entrepreneurship through the Years:

It was discovered that the term ‘entrepreneurship’ could be found from the French verb ‘entreprende’ in the twelfth century though the meaning may not be that applicable today. This meaning of the word then was to do something without any link to economic profits, which is the antithesis of what entrepreneurship is all about today. It was only in the early 1700′s, when French economist, Richard Cantillon, described an entrepreneur as one who bears risks by buying at certain prices and selling at uncertain prices (Barreto, 1989, Casson 1982) which is probably closer to the term as applied today.

In the 1776 thought-provoking book ‘The Wealth of Nations’, Adam Smith explained clearly that it was not the benevolence of the baker but self-interest that motivated him to provide bread. From Smith’s standpoint, entrepreneurs were the economic agents who transformed demand into supply for profits.

In 1848, the famous economist John Stuart Mill described entrepreneurship as the founding of a private enterprise. This encompassed the risk takers, the decision makers, and the individuals who desire wealth by managing limited resources to create new business ventures.

One of the definitions that the author feels best exemplifies entrepreneurship was coined by Joseph Schumpeter (1934). He stated that the entrepreneur is one who applies “innovation” within the context of the business to satisfy unfulfilled market demand (Liebenstein, 1995). In elaboration, he saw an entrepreneur as an innovator who implements change within markets through the carrying out of new combinations. The carrying out of new combinations can take several forms:

The introduction of a new good or standard of quality;

  • The introduction of a novel method of production;
  • The opening of a new market;
  • The acquisition of a new source of new materials supply; and
  • The carrying out of the new organization in any industry.

Though the term ‘innovation’ has different meanings to different people, several writers tended to see “innovation” in the form of entrepreneurship as one not of incremental change but quantum change in the new business start-ups and the goods/services that they provide (egs, Bygrave, 1995; Bygrave & Hofer, 1991).

In the view of Drucker (1985), he perceived entrepreneurship as the creation of a new organization, regardless of its ability to sustain itself, let alone make a profit. The notion of an individual who starts a new business venture would be sufficient for him/her to be labeled as an entrepreneur. It is this characteristic that distinguishes entrepreneurship from the routine management tasks of allocating resources in an already established business organization. Though the definition tends to be somewhat simplistic in nature, it firmly attaches the nature of entrepreneurial action with risk-taking and the bearing of uncertainty by the individual (Swoboda, 1983)

In a Delphi study, Gartner (1990) found eight themes expressed by the participants that constitute the nature of entrepreneurship. They were the entrepreneur, innovation, organization creation, creating value, profit or non-profit, growth, uniqueness, and the owner-manager. The themes could be seen as a derivative and expansion of Schumpter’s earlier concept.

Expanding on Schumpeter’s Definition:

After digesting the numerous definitions of entrepreneurship, one would tend to see a strong link between these two terms: entrepreneurship and innovation. In retrospect, most of the definitions tended to be, to some extent, a re-work and expansion of Schumpeter’s definition of entrepreneurship (which is that of innovation being applied in a business context).

As defining the term of ‘innovation’ is highly debatable and would merit a paper on its own, the author has thus, for convenience, summarised the definition of innovation. Innovation can be perceived simply as the transformation of creative ideas into useful applications by combining resources in new or unusual ways to provide value to society for or improved products, technology, or services.

In the author’s opinion, the difficulties of defining “innovation” could be the reason for the quandary one finds in attempting to arrive at a clear-cut definition of the term ” Entrepreneurship”.

Take for example, if someone starts another run-of-the-mill hot dog stand in the streets of New York, will he termed as an entrepreneur? According to Drucker’s definition, he will be seen as one. However, if the above definition by Schumpeter was used as a guideline, the answer is probably ‘NO’.

Why? The core of the matter lies in what is so innovative about setting up another hot-dog stand which are in abundance in New York. On the contrary, if he is the first one to start a stand selling hot-dogs with Oriental Sweet and Sour sauce topping; he could be termed as an entrepreneur (even based on Schumpeter’s requirement) as he has done what others have not done before. In the context of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation are key points in the whole scheme of things.

In this manner, by adding “innovative” features to a product or services and setting up a business based on these additional features to compete in the existing market, new entrants may be able to gain this competitive advantage over existing market players.

In the case of the hot-dog seller, it may be argued that his addition of Oriental Sweet and Sour sauce toppings may be seen as nondescript. This runs in contrary to some scholars’ definition of entrepreneurship as requiring quantum changes in the products/ services to be justified as being entrepreneurial (Bygrave, 1985; Bygrave & Hofer, 1991).

Consistent with creating new products for sale, someone who starts a business by providing a totally new way of serving his customers/ clients is considered to be entrepreneurial too. Though, it is often argued that there are no real new products or services in a case where one does not look to the past products and services for ideas for improvements. Thus, the notion of incremental improvements should be accepted as being innovative too.

Innovation in the business sense may not necessarily involve, in the physical sense, the introduction of a new product or service. It can be in the form of what is commonly known as creative imitations. For example, if an individual starts selling a product that is already common in his area or country, he will not be seen as being entrepreneurial. However, if he is the first to sell the same product in a virgin locale or to an untouched market segment, he will be seen as an entrepreneur in his own rights.

Take Muhammad Yunus, for example. Yunus became an entrepreneur when he started a micro-loan program for the poor villagers in a rural part of Bangladesh named Grameen, with only US$26. The loan was divided among 42 villagers to assist them to buy small items such as combs, scissors, needles and other necessities to start their own home businesses. In the past 22 years, Grameen Bank has grown with over $2 billion loans granted. It has now become a model for several micro-loan facilities.

>From the following example, Yunus created banking and lending facilities in Grameen specifically for the poor villagers. Banking and lending money activities are not new but Yunus was the first to provide such facilities in a rural part of Bangladesh and that is definitely innovation and risk-bearing on his part as a social entrepreneur. In short, innovation need not arise mainly from a new product or service but it could be an old product or service finding a new market for penetration.

An individual could be termed as an entrepreneur if he or she sells a product or service using new systems and/ or mediums of marketing, distribution or production methods as a basis for a new business venture. A good example will be Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, the successful Web-based bookstore. He was one of the first to sell books on a large scale using an online store and also patented the one-click system for online buying. Though selling books is not an innovation in itself, Jeff Bezos was innovative in the use of the Internet then as a viable marketing and sales channel for selling books.

Another example from the field of e-commerce is Stuart Skorman, the founder of Reel.com [http://Reel.com]. Reel.com [http://Reel.com] is essentially one of the first cyber movie store with a very large inventory of over a 100 000 videos. Though setting a movie store was revolutionary then, Reel.com [http://Reel.com] main distinction was being known as the first online store to expand by opening an offline store. The founder felt that by doing so, the online store could be an advertisement for the offline store and vice versa, thus strengthening this click and mortar business venture- an example of creativity and innovation applied in a profitable business context.

Conclusion:

This paper has started as an attempt to redefine the term of entrepreneurship but ended up ‘updating’ the wheel, based on the definition as proposed by Schumpeter. The paper expanded on this influential work by giving examples to illustrate what innovation in entrepreneurship was and hope that along the way, new insights were unearthed in the study of defining entrepreneurship.

In summary, the author hopes that this paper would further encourage the infusion of creative thinking and innovation within the educational system to nurture future entrepreneurs with a competitive edge. In the author’s view, the characteristics and capabilities to set up a new business venture based on doing things that have not done before should be encouraged. Innovation needs to be the cornerstone of entrepreneurship as opposed to the mere setting up of another new enterprise without implementing changes or adding features of improvements to the products and services provided and/ or its business processes.

Technology in Sports

It today’s world, sport cannot go together without technology. With the ever growing development of new technologies, they have always tried to be implemented into sports. Because technology can give sports something nothing else can, an unmistakable truth. Or so they say. Due to the fact that people are, well, people, they are bound to make mistakes. It is because we are human, we are not robots, that we can make mistakes, while robots make them only if they are malfunctioning. This is especially emphasized in sports, where human eyes can often deceive their owners, the referees most importantly, but also players, coaches and the fans. That is why these days there are many discussions about installing video technology into sports, mostly football. What does technology actually mean for sports?

Here I would like to emphasize that there are already sports using technology, like tennis and cricket, to name some. It helped the referees a lot, to minimize and correct some mistakes they make. But apparently, not all problems are solved like this. Players that have been playing for a longer period of time, and have not grown up with these kinds of technologies, are not convinced that it works properly. This suspicion is probably understandable, because when they were first starting their professional sports careers, they did not probably even dream about something like this would exist. But this technology has been tested time after time, and skeptical players, such as Roger Federer, have learned to live with it and accept it, although probably not so reluctantly.

This technology used in sports is called Hawk-Eye line-calling system, or just Hawk-eye for short. It was invented by a British computer expert Paul Hawkins. It is now used in tennis, where six or more cameras, situated around the court are linked together, track the path of the ball. Then those six or more cameras combine their separate views and make a 3D representation of the path of the ball. For tennis, or basically any other sport, this means that any close line call can be checked, quickly and accurately. This is not always used on tennis tournaments, though. For instance, the French Open is not using this technology because the tournament is played on clay courts and thus the print of the ball on the ground can easily be seen. Maybe this will change one day, because you can’t always be 100% sure you are looking at the right print.

These days there have been a lot of talks about introducing this technology to the sport of football. The sympathizers of this idea have been especially loud after the South Africa FIFA World Cup 2010, where a lot of mistakes by the referees have been made (an Argentina goal allowed although the player was offside, England goal not seen in a crucial moment). However, referees are only human, and they are bound to make mistakes because they can not help it, so i do not think all those critics were fair to them. On the other hand, a recent statement was made from the UEFA president Michel Platini, who is not thrilled about the goal-line technology, saying that this would reduce football to a video game. I don’t believe that other sports who have this technology have been reduced to a video game. Furthermore, he also admits that referees can make mistakes and that there are many cameras on the field that can catch any disputable moment. So why not help football, or any other sport, to see these disputable moments clearly and to resolve them without making mistakes. Or is it better to hear a mass of critics every time something like this happens? I am sure the referees would like this kind of help, then they couldn’t be blamed for anything and wouldn’t have to listen to all the nonsense people say about them the other day, or worse.

Homeschooling Young Children? Here Are 5 Key Benefits to Adding a Good Art Program

Homeschooling your children? I assume this means you want the best for your kids. An opportunity to give your children a rich multi sensory, personalized type of education ……… Is art included in your curriculum?

If you want the best type of education for your children then ART must be included in your day to day curricular activities

When I say good art I am not talking about the standard traditional arts and crafts that is done in so many preschool and kindergarten classes all over the world. That may be something you do with your kids on a spur of the moment thought when a Holiday is coming up, or you need to make something for Grandma.

But that's not what I'm talking about.

Nope, you left that. You left that along with the traditional world of education because you wanted something better for your kids, something that they cant get in most traditional classes with upwards of 20 kids …..

You probably spend quite a bit of time looking for curriculum on line for your homeschooling curriculum and that's great because you get to choose what and how your kids will be learning.

You do not even realize how necessary and valuable it is for your kids to make sure that there is a solid art program being integrated with the rest of your homeschooling curriculum.

Many parents have some kind of vague ideas about why we give our kids art and some of its benefits.

Oftentimes traditional preschool teachers have just as vague ideas and below are some of the reasons I've heard from some traditional educators, preschool teachers as to why they give their students arts and crafts

  1. They need the children to remember their lessons and figure that an art project will help them do that
  2. They want them to learn to follow directions so they give them step by step directions on how to follow cookie cutter art projects
  3. They need to fill up time in the day, so what better way than an art project
  4. They claim that this is what the Mothers want

So tell me Moms, you are some of the mothers they are talking about (well maybe you're not actually really not since your kids are being schooled) but is this really what you want?

Do you want your kids to follow cookie cutter instructions that turn them into little robots for them to make projects that look exactly like everyone elses?

No! I did not think so.

But I do think that you may not know any alternatives and in working so hard trying to put together some good homeschooling curriculum for your children sometimes art gets lost in the shuffle and that's too bad.

That's too bad because art gives adds such depth to any curriculum that it would be a crying shame when you have the opportunity at home to give such great activities to have your children lose out on these experiences.

Art is not only fun, it's lifesaving and life building and I would like to share with you 5 reasons for you to include really good art into your homeschooling curriculum

  1. Art helps build physical coordination. Art is good for both gross motor coordination and fine motor coordination. Gross motor coordination, the development of large muscle is not only helped by things like ball playing and beam balancing but young children also use their arms during art with wide sweeping movements ans they paint and draw that help build those large muscle. Of course fine motor coordination is better understood as benefit ted from art .. Cutting, gluing, painting, drawing. Your child's small fingers are developing each time they use these art tools
  2. Emotional development – There is no question that art can help a child through many difficult emotional experiences. If a child is jealous of a new baby sibling, she or he can pound on some clay and color furiously instead of pounding on the baby herself. Children also end to use art to work through issues that bother them such as a death in the family, a fire or other disturbing event. (I once taught little girl who had a fire in her home and for weeks that's all she talked and drew and painted about until she calmed down.)
  3. Intellectual development (often known as cognitive development). Children learn to make sense of their world as they use art to count, classify, sort, make their own decisions and learn to follow directions without doing cookie cutter art.
  4. Creativity … Of course children's creativity takes a flying leap if they are allowed to do art that allows them to create at their own level, which allows them to be creative in more ways than one
  5. Integrating curriculum And last but not least art in a home school curriculum can help integrate the curriculum and help them learn. Children learn best through their senses and the more art is integrated with the homeschooling curriculum the more their learning will stay with them.

Why Do We Wear Engagement Rings?

The modern Western practice of giving or breaking engagement rings is traditionally thought to have begon in 1477 when Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, wave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring as an engagement present.

Customs for engagement rings vary according to time, place, and culture. An engagement ring has historically been uncommon, and when such a gift was given, it was separate from the wedding ring. Romantic rings from the time of the Roman Empire and from as far back as 4 AD often clash the Celtic Claddagh symbol (two hands clasping a heart) and so it is thought that this was used as some symbol of love and commitment between two people.

In the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and many other countries, an engagement ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. The tradition of wearing a ring for engagement originated from the Egyptians who believed the circle was a bond between the two people who were to be married, but was initially first practiced on the fourth finger / ring finger by the Romans, who recognized this finger to Be the beginning of the vena amoris ("vein of love"), the vein that leads to the heart. The custom in Continental Europe and other countries is to wear it on the right hand; one historical exception arose in monarchical regimes, in which a nobleman entering into morganatic marriage (a marriage in which the person, usually the woman, of lower rank stayed at the same rank instead of rising ranks) would present his left hand to receive the ring (hence the alternative term "left-handed marriage").

In other countries like Argentina, men and women each wear a ring similar to wedding bands. They are made of silver when manifesting an informal "boyfriend-girlfriend" relationship. The gold band is given to the bride when the commitment is formal and the optional diamond ring is reserved for the wedding ceremony when the groom gives it to the bride. The gold band that the groom wore during the engagement – or a new one, as some men choose not to wear them during engagement – is then given to the groom by the bride; and the bride receives both the original gold band and the new diamond at the ceremony. The bride's diamond ring is worn on top of the engagement band at the wedding and thereafter, especially at formal occasions or parties. At the wedding, the rings are swapped from the right to the left hand. In Brazil, they are always made of gold, and there is no tradition for the engagement ring. Both men and women wear the wedding band on their right hand while engaged, and, after they marry, they shift the rings to their left hands. In Nordic countries such as Finland and Norway, both men and women wear an engagement ring.

Some women's wedding rings are made into two separate pieces. One part is given to her to wear as an engagement ring when she accepts the marriage proposal and the other during the wedding ceremony.

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