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Andre Walters takes a broader look at why we celebrate entrepreneurship through various events, while also delving deeper into the state of entrepreneurship in general

Given the dire circumstances of South Africa’s business, SOE, and governmental environment, this is an important article to read, and to make the contents your own.

November month is listed as the ‘National Entrepreneurship Month’ in many countries across the world. It is about highlighting and celebrating the work of entrepreneurs who serve their communities and bolster the economies of their countries.

This event is designed to inspire thousands of individuals from all backgrounds to follow in the footsteps of the generations of entrepreneurs who stood out in the past by showing us how to make ever greater strides in the world of business.

Entrepreneurship is important because it promotes economic growth, provides access to goods and services, and improves the overall standard of living—and we know, here in South Africa, how very important this has become, given the great economic challenges that are being experienced by our SOEs, the low employment opportunities, and by our general living standards.

‘World Entrepreneurs Day’ is celebrated on August 21st every year. This day is all about celebrating the spirit of entrepreneurship and the important role that entrepreneurs play in driving innovation, creating jobs, and fostering economic growth.

‘National Entrepreneurship Week’ (GEW) occurs every third week in February, while ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week’ falls in the second week in November. This year’s ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week’ therefore returned from the 13th to the 19th of November. It is the world’s largest entrepreneurship festival, celebrated in 180 countries.

‘Global Entrepreneurship Week’ will celebrate and empower entrepreneurs in every country and community around the world—especially those individuals who face structural barriers or who may never before have considered the idea of launching a startup business.

This brings us to look at what is normally done to observe, and celebrate, ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week’. The general needs vary a lot between countries, but in essence, the following shortlist does give one an idea of the range of activities that the GEW generates:

  • Every year, several events, activities, and competitions occur in countries worldwide to celebrate GEW. The expectation is that companies will participate by bringing new business ideas and methods to the table.
  • Individuals are urged to bring their own business ideas to life.
  • Companies are encouraged to contribute to organising and presenting the various events that work together to contribute to the ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week’.

There are many participants in this world-dialogue: for example, take the University of Birmingham. Each year they run a series of events and create opportunities to celebrate ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week’, where participants from across the world are invited to experiment with their own ideas, to try something new, and to gain entrepreneur skills to help them work like a boss in their study courses, their start-ups, and future careers. And there are many other themes: this edition of ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week’ was focused on four global themes: Education, Ecosystems, Inclusion, and Policy.

There is, predictably, given the grand scope of this outreach, also an award for the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’. And here is the winner of the coveted 2023 title:

Sajjan Jindal is the one individuals who stands out to carry away the top accolade. Sajjan Jindal is an Indian billionaire industrialist. He is the chairman and managing director of the JSW Group of companies that diversify in steel, mining, energy, sports, infrastructure, and the software business. During 2021–2022, he served as the chairman of World Steel Association.

Some personal guidance on how entrepreneurs can go global:

  • Research and narrow down your markets of opportunity.
  • In a rush to show the world what you have to offer, you may bite off more than you can chew. You need to narrow down the markets for the first phase of global growth by determining which markets are most viable for what you offer.
  • Done right, globalisation delivers sizable advantages for your business, including expanding your customer base, opening up new talent pools, driving revenue, and increasing profits.
  • Expanding into new, foreign markets can help a business increase its customer base and revenue, leading to overall growth and success. This is because, by operating in new markets, a business can reach a larger group of potential customers that are interested in its products, or services.

The 10 Ds of Entrepreneurship

Henry Dalziel, the Director of Growth at Growth Hackers Hong Kong (a website that serves as a resource for Growth Hackers and SEO Pros living and working in Hong Kong), writes about the meaning and importance of what is called the ‘10 Ds of Entrepreneurship’, and he urges you to check how many of them you possess.

The ‘10 Ds of Entrepreneurship’ were first published by William Graves, who is also the author of ‘The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship’. In essence, the ‘10 Ds’ represent the DNA of many entrepreneurs. If your vocation is to become an entrepreneur and you haven’t yet started on your journey, you might want to consider if you possess all the qualities that the ‘10 D’s’ outline below:

Dream

Entrepreneurs that start any sort of business, not just marketing agencies, all share a vision of what the future could be like for them and their businesses. However, of greater importance, they have the ability to implement their dreams. Therefore, as a founder, what is your dream? The dream should be big and bold because if you think small, you will remain small.

Decisiveness

Entrepreneurs don’t procrastinate and they typically make decisions quickly. This swiftness is a key factor in their success, and as an agency founder, this should be a key for you. For example, saying “no” to potential customers might be a good thing for you in the long run because the alternative could have annoyed some supporters and other people, which could cause bad energy and disappointment. If you feel that it isn’t going to work out, then ditch it and focus on clients that you can absolutely deliver quality digital marketing services to. You will know which ones to choose.

Doers

Entrepreneurs are all, without question, “doers”. They “talk the talk, and walk the walk”. Once they have decided on a particular course of action, they will execute it as quickly as possible. “How fast can you get wins for your client?” Ask yourself that question and if you’re confident that you can do it, don’t hang around. Get going!

Determination

Entrepreneurs manage any businesses they start with total commitment. The successful ones seldom give up, even when confronted by major obstacles that seem insurmountable. Remember, nine out of ten businesses fail, so make sure that you’re either the one that succeeds, or that you fail fast and learn from your mistakes.

Dedication

Entrepreneurs must be wholly dedicated to the businesses they start, and sometimes at considerable cost to their relationships with their friends and families. They’ll tend to work tirelessly, without thought, and to them the concept of a 9 to 5, five days a week working schedule, are all abstract concepts.

Devotion

Entrepreneurs, especially Internet Marketers, love what they do. That love and passion is what sustains them when the going gets tough. What carries them through is the love of their product.

Details

“God is in the detail,” the saying goes. Other people take the other side and say that “the devil resides in the details”. Either way, you’ll certainly see that the successful entrepreneur will almost always be obsessive about details.

Destiny

The successful entrepreneurs will want to be in charge of their own destiny, as opposed to being dependent on an employer. Remember that 99% of the people work for the 1% that never quits.

Dollars (and Rands)

For the most part, getting rich is not the prime motivator of entrepreneurs. One could argue that freedom is a greater quality. Generating wealth is more a measure of success rather than “the absolute driver”.

Distribute

Entrepreneurs understand this simple concept: “a happy employee is a good employee”. Keep your core team happy and they’ll look after you and your business.

We recently had a much-publicised BRICS conference in South Africa, and one that was not without its own controversies.

In short:

  • BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
  • The Economist, Jim O’Neill, created the term ‘BRIC’ in 2001 (for Brazil, Russia, India, and China) in the belief that these economies would dominate global growth by 2050.
  • The BRICS nations offered a source of foreign expansion for firms and strong returns for institutional investors.
  • The organization seeks to deepen economic cooperation between the member countries and stand in contrast to the Western sphere of power.
  • Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Argentina were invited to join BRICS during the 2023 conference.
  • Brazil has the highest level of entrepreneurship according to statistics from 2021, followed by South Africa and India. Russia still has the lowest level of entrepreneurship among the BRICS economies, despite achieving tremendous improvements over the last twenty years.

Entrepreneurs and their impact on jobs and economic growth

Alexander S. Kritikos, of the University of Potsdam in Germany, writes about this and he feels that entrepreneurship is important in developing countries (and here we are referring especially to BRICS) because it promotes economic growth, provides access to goods and services, and improves the overall standard of living.

Entrepreneurs create employment opportunities not only for themselves, but for others as well. Entrepreneurial activities may influence a country’s economic performance by bringing new products, methods, and production processes to the market and by boosting productivity and competition more broadly. Productive entrepreneurs can invigorate the economy by creating jobs and new technologies, and increasing productivity.

This is, amongst others, an outline of a document that was first published by DIW Berlin of the University of Potsdam, and IZA, Germany.

This brings us directly to the question: How does entrepreneurship benefit the BRICS relationships?

Entrepreneurs are significant drivers of economic development and job creation in South Africa, potentially offering a solution to large scale unemployment. To truly transform South Africa’s economy, the country needs more youth entrepreneurs to create a lasting impact on job creation and poverty alleviation.

However, a negative impact of BRICS to the South African economy can be said to lie in the fact that BRICS may erode South Africa’s domestic economy, because many products from BRICS countries directly compete with those of South Africa, unless it negotiates adroitly.

And with BRICS business interactions, it can be said that some of the major advantages of small business ownerships include the ability to be your own boss, flexibility, and potential financial rewards. Some of the major disadvantages include risk, long hours, and cash-flow challenges.

South Africa has consistently had the smallest economy of the BRICS bloc, and it has just the third largest economy in Africa; its inclusion in this group is due to the fact that it is the most advanced and stable major economy in Africa, and it holds strategic importance due to the financial potential of the continent.

In conclusion, the advantages of South Africa being in BRICS lie in the fact that this could attract more trade and investment opportunities for the country and further help to boost trade with other African countries. The expansion of BRICS could provide the building blocks for South Africa’s economic recovery and offer the country an opportunity to build further economic and political alliances.

Andre Walters is a veteran broadcaster.