Before I start speaking about entrepreneurship, I would like to relate it to a story that I had encountered few years ago. I was a 19 year old student, who loves to buy fresh produce from local markets. In one of the markets I struck a friendship with a village woman who sells vegetable and dairy products that she makes; she carries it to the market walking almost 20 kilometers back and fourth from her village. She was pregnant! one day I went there and saw a cute little baby, I said “oh my goodness you had your baby?” she said as a matter of factly, “yes I did, this morning on my way to the market, so I wrapped him and carried him with my products and when I go home tonight I will wash him properly” I was stunned! but now when I remember this story I felt that it resembles the heart of entrepreneurship. A woman that grew vegetables, makes yogurt and cheese and carries it and sells it in the local market is nothing short of entrepreneurship, in those times though women were not classified as entrepreneurs, they were merely women selling products for living.
So about the title, I heard this terminology the other day about Entrepreneurs, and it made me think (having been an entrepreneur and business owner since I dont know when) is it a true statement? well lets see what is an entrepreneur is and what he/she is not:
- an entrepreneur is born with a relentless spirit, and
- they always need to know “where are we going”
- they are born and not made,
- they are innovative,
- They are agile
- most of the time if not all the time, they are disruptive
- most of the time they need funding which is not easy and they do need help
- they do not take rejection easily or personally
- they are like the phenix, always rise from the ashes and think of what is the next project.
- they can do wonders but need to know how to raise funds
- they are achievers
- Women entrepreneurs can multi task and do not have ego which is an important factor for entrepreneurs, hence they need confidence
- Entrepreneurs are passionate and if they think of something they do it regardless of the consequences
You can see from all of this that entrepreneurs are not driven by money, however they do need money to start their project. They may use their own funds, borrow from a bank, borrow from family members or friends, if the idea takes off, then they can start raising money via venture capitalist, or if their idea is in technology then Fintech is their other option. When Uber and Careem started, they got funding easily as they were in technology, these two companies do not own anything but an App, but required a lot of funds to make it perfect, others like Talabat and Carriage also received funding due to the same fact, their idea was relating to technology.
I am not trying to underestimate the need for money to do your project, all I am trying to say here is that we must not be called “money hungry” as its very negative. Sometimes the idea is great but needs time to take off, and without the confidence of others it may die prematurely.
let me also tell you about another type of entrepreneur, call him or her Intrapreneur, these are employees in companies having great ideas, they cannot implement them straight away as there is a corporate governance that takes time or the fear of losing their jobs. Many companies however do encourage staff to provide their ideas these days, but the application of the idea may take a long time unlike a real entrepreneur who can implement his idea straight away.
The question of raising funds trickle down to the fact that you either grew or stay as a small business, and sometimes your ego will make you stay small as you don’t want to raise funds. You need to be passionate about your idea and have the courage to do it, raise the funds for it and grew it.
Also if an entrepreneur needs seed funding, then a story is easier than the pages of a presentation, as the Fintech people or the fund managers may not have the time to listen to you, but your story can make them wonder on how they can help?
Parts of the definitions were told to us at an entrepreneurship conference conducted by Manchester university in Dubai. It was very enjoyable, I was stunned by the number of entrepreneurs in Dubai and I wish them every success.