Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010 – What It’s Meant to Me

After visiting the GEW Global Entrepreneurship Week website – I spotted on the first page some interesting facts about starting your own business.

What instantly caught my attention was the headline ‘Make a Job, don’t take a job’, on the home page of the website.

I’m going to play devils advocate here – I would like to put to the debate both sides of the discussion around being a company creating the jobs and the person deciding whether to become an entrepreneur or work for someone else.

It stated on the GEW website that:

• 50% of the population wants to start a business but only 5.8% are actually in the process of starting a business.

• A rise in 1% in self-employment in the UK would boost the UK’s GDP by around 1.5% and make up for the effect of the government cuts on GDP over the next two years.

Some very interesting facts! The stark facts gave rise to the suggestion of how highly dependent a large percentage of people in the UK have become, adopting an automatic expectation that it is the responsibility of the bigger or more established companies/organisations (public and private sector) to create and grow and provide the actual physical jobs, instead of people actually sitting down and seriously thinking about what they could actually do for themselves.

The extreme hidden wealth of talent residing in the UK, if only given the encouragement, the right resources and proper back-up to try something new and go it alone would create so much more independence, freedom and flexibility, money earned, morale boosting pride to ordinary people.

The huge responsibility of a business owner/director of a growing company to take their business to the next stage where they’re able to create vacancies for people to work and take a monthly wage and sustain this, is a tall order especially in today’s climate. Only when you try running your own business do you see the all the hurdles, hoops you have to jump through, the pit falls and stresses of growing a business do you understand what it entails. At the same time you need to experience the extreme highs, overwhelming excitement and unbelievable opportunities that come your way that would never happen if you worked for someone else. Then only do you realise the full extent of being in charge of your own person, being financially independent, having the responsibility of making your own important decisions that will take you on many different journeys.

It is also very important to be aware that running your business isn’t automatically for everyone neither does it suit every situation or everyone’s goals and dreams in life. The idea of being your own boss and not having someone telling you what to do is wonderful and it’s well known that once you’ve run your own business the sheer thought of working for someone else and taking orders is earth shatteringly horrid and not likely to happen!

From the GEW website it stated that:

• Young people (aged 18-24) are five times more likely to be unemployed than starting their own business.

This is a sad fact that so much needs to change. Taken from ‘Headlines’, Sheffield Hallam University’s news magazine, Doug Richards (Dragons Den) hosted an entrepreneurial festival event with some of the students. He said that people aged around 22, 23 have far less responsibilities at that age, giving no reason why they shouldn’t try starting a business. A plain fact stated ‘so you start a business and it fails. So what? You can get a job and try something else’.

As mentioned earlier before 50% of the people asked want to start there own business only 5.8% actually do, so what exactly is it that creates this barrier, an absolute no go area to giving it a go?

• Why do we create, allow this attitude of ‘fear of trying something new or being different’ in our young people?

• Surely not all people unemployed have an attitude that it’s easier to stay on benefits than start or try something new? A much larger percentage of people just hope to get on with life, make a living, enjoy and do well. So why not put their existing skills or new skills to the test?

• Are we all so blinkered to thinking that the only way forward is to get a job to earn the money to pay the bills, food on the table, petrol in the car and a roof over our heads?

• Are people not aware that when you take a job you hit a ceiling of how much you can earn? Where as being an entrepreneur you can break through that glass ceiling and earn what you want if you work and strive hard enough?

• Is having a regular job that brings in the monthly wage into your bank account your comfort blanket that allows you to save for the yearly holiday and put money aside for other luxuries? In today’s climate does a regular safe job exist?

• Completely understandable if you have a family to provide for and look after, you need stable regular money coming into the household to keep everything afloat but there are plenty of entrepreneurs that do this very well.

So what’s the secret and how do we change these misconceptions around starting a business?

There is and always will be a certain standard of living that everyone hopes to achieve. Everyone will have their own description of their ideal standard of living which will differ from the next person’s idea. Is money always the main driver? What about the quality of life you hope to have? Does health come into the scenario, where you live, what car you drive, where your kids go to school, how often you get to go out for a beer and a take away meal, the number of times you treat yourself at the hair and beauty salon along with holidays abroad. Are there any of these on the list you’d be prepared to go without over a couple of years to start up your own business?

How hungry and enthusiastic are you to start your own business and get your own ideas and vision into place? If you were given the chance to start your own business instead of facing unemployment and being dependent on state benefits would it make you choose?

As a rough example, if you are of an age between 18 and 24, as mentioned above what’s really stopping you from starting your own business as opposed to being unemployed? Do you really think you’re so absolutely useless that you can’t use your existing skills or learn new skills to create your own start-up?

So do we need an army of young people coming up through the ranks that are more forward thinking, independent, confident and capable of dealing with society in a more informed way and aware of the necessary pit falls and stresses along with the excitement and challenges, instead of a legacy of people who only know the existence of benefit dependency and a lot of lost hope?

We need to create a more adaptable, forward thinking, enthusiastic, flexible set of young people, who are more confident to stand on their own two feet, easily moveable to go where the work takes them, have the insatiable ‘get up and go’ spirit, that don’t necessarily need such dependency.

Taking away the fear of the unknown and allowing young people to try things (without thinking or concentrating on ‘what if it fails’) to my mind is the way forward. We should encourage and celebrate those people who try and want to achieve!

Source by Tracey Clarke

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