In our “Asks the Authors” podcast on predictions for 2012, we claim that 2012 will be “The Year of the Entrepreneur!” In fact, we believe these Evolutionary business owners and idea people will lead the way as we emerge from the Great Recession and will be ahead of the game in 2013 as more traditional businesses just begin to poke their heads out from their bunkers.
Few will deny that entrepreneurialism is critical for any nation’s economic success. Personally, my favorite description of the value of entrepreneurialism comes from research by the United Nations, because it focuses not just on the economic benefits, but the social benefits. We all know that entrepreneurship invigorates markets, leads to job creation, and generally has a multiplying effect on a nation’s economy. But less often do we really think about the way that entrepreneurship empowers citizens, generates innovation and changes mindsets in a given society. This is what people mean when they refer to an “entrepreneurial spirit” being a part of American culture.
We believe that most entrepreneurs are, by their nature, Evolutionaries. In fact, the definition of an entrepreneur is strikingly similar to that of an Evolutionary:
Entrepreneurs produce solutions that fly in the face of established knowledge, and they always challenge the status quo. They are risk-takers who pursue opportunities that others may fail to recognize or may even view as problems or threats. Whatever the definition of entrepreneurship, it is closely associated with change, creativity, knowledge, innovation and flexibility.
But the sad fact is, we don’t have many true entrepreneurs thriving in America today – we have lost that entrepreneurial spirit. It’s become the stuff of stories, where older generations reminisce about days gone by. In one of our recent blogs we talk about Starbuck’s offering small business loans to help entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground, or just to stay on their feet. And we also say we don’t think it will work. Our belief is that the biggest hurdle for most people who have an idea is to believe in that idea enough to persevere through the storm of naysayers and doubters bent on discouraging their efforts today. It’s hard to start a business, to keep it afloat, to make it stable, and then to grow it. Even the most persistent and dedicated entrepreneurs in today’s economic trenches need a little help. And that’s what I love about Mercy Corps.
I recently had the opportunity to tour Mercy Corps Northwest and learn more about their program to assist and support small business entrepreneurs – people starting companies with 1-5 employees. Their mission is to “increase household income of local entrepreneurs and their business survival rate.” Their regular classes on writing business plans, building business foundations, and financial management are in high demand. For more information about their services, go to http://www.mercycorpsnw.org/.
Mercy Corps NW program to assist entrepreneurs is Evolutionary. And that’s why I have made the decision to offer my services in Evolutionary business consulting to their program pro bono – if they will have me. We all need to get behind our beliefs in 2012. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and pitch in where it counts!
So what will you do to help an entrepreneur in 2012? We want to hear your ideas!