• Sarah Dutton

Entrepreneurship Pushing Business to Drive Solutions

Updated: Jan 22

Why business leaders and entrepreneurs must work alongside aspiring youth to become powerful tools, and how you can join the 'Call to Action.'

Comeback is inevitable... we've done it before, we can do it again. However, this time around requires a new level of urgency and a new cause of action. The most digestible analogy of this crisis is being likened to an x-ray, exposing fractures in the skeleton in the society's we have built. This significant economic upheaval reflects our fragility as a global society, and for us to 'bounce back' the same as we did in 2007 without addressing these cracks, will lead us down a narrow decline.

As if this wasn't enough pressure, our stakes are much higher with climate change becoming more of an imminent threat. With this omnipresence, we find business to be the pivotal mechanism. Along our way since the Industrial Revolution and the explosion of global conglomerates, we seem to have forgotten that business can be a power for positive social change. One of the reasons we can back this up is because we have seen too many business showcase their unfavourable power. Most of us, if not all, can recount more bad practices of businesses than good. That's because in our current state of affairs, the bad have devastating impacts on our environment and society - while the good substantiate the offset. Sweat shops in Bangladesh and human rights violations, oil companies hiding behind slick PR to disguise their impact on the environment and many companies that export corruption. This is not to say that every business is equally responsible, we certainly find that the larger the company the heavier their impact on society is; resulting in higher risk and reward. But when it goes wrong, it is at a tremendous scale and the impacts are far-reaching.

By pushing the existing companies to simply 'do good' enough? And who represents this change in our customs, values, and morals in regards to building business?

We find that the people who are looking at all crises are majority youths and business leaders. All business leaders have an unprecedented pressure and responsibility to build a more inclusive society. Advancing youth leadership is essential for us to move the baton forward, and to do so alongside business would be mutually beneficial. Thankfully, there are businesses around the world that are meeting these demands, and have been proving that the pursuit of a higher purpose can result with profit. By challenging the status quo, we must harness the new wave of entrepreneurs.

Although there has always been an admiration and appreciation for entrepreneurship, especially on my behalf, it has never been more dominating than now. Every generation gets the chance to shape the world, but the challenges now are becoming more complex and dire. The pace of economic, social, and technological change have sped up the momentum and we must keep up. To keep pace, the solution lies in the development of responsible, compassionate, and skilled young leaders. They will bring a new entrepreneurial mindset that build businesses to act as solutions; but the key is that it will be done not just individually, but as a dynamic workforce.

Business is a multifaceted relationship, inflated by the presence of global challenges. To mobiles, it takes entrepreneurs to act with intention and dedication. To succeed, it takes a diverse team of skills, cultures, experiences, and ideas.

What I've learnt over this pandemic, is that entrepreneurship demands determination, taking risk, and making essential decisions and investments under conditions of uncertainty. Our perception of the swashbuckling 'hero' entrepreneur, endorsed by media outlets, leads too many misconceptions about the actual capabilities and responsibilities of one. I'm sure we're all familiar of Shark Tank or Dragon's Den? This idea will be explored in later articles, but it is important to note that entrepreneurship is an important process by which individuals pursue opportunities by meeting a need; either already known by the consumer or created by the entrepreneur.

The idea of the 21st century entrepreneur being a 'disruptor' is not new. Thomas Edison brought light for everyone, Fordism was a revolution of the typical American worker, Tesla's vision to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy and we can thank Annie Easley for hybrid cars. By creating jobs, driving innovation, empowering employees to develop further; entrepreneurs bring new ideas and products to create a healthy standard of living and place them as key members of society.

All entrepreneurs set out to solve a problem, this is their purpose. If you're an aspiring entrepreneur, or simply a student that seeks change; this is your 'call to action.'

Here's how to use your time at home to get started.

1) Networking

Networking is an important tool with benefits that have been spoken much about. We have been led to believe that the typical entrepreneur is one that is self-made and success is based solely on their actions. This is far from the truth. Who you surround yourself with determines your opportunities, course of action, drive, and impact as a leader.

With COVID-19 we have seen a vast change in the way we network, and the scale has been enormously enlarged. Undoubtedly, there needs to be a space where new ideas have a place to flourish and connections can be made, to allow collaboration to be at the heart of innovation. EntreNeo has the potential to become an invaluable hub for the leaders that are wanting to build the vision necessary, and promote these ideas to become unstoppable.

2) Get involved

Students are diverting their energy from protesting or society's, to building business strategies. The rise of social enterprises has dramatically increased making University's the new start-up hubs. This new strategy of stand-off challenges the status quo and aims to solve problems, both financially and generously.

I suggest having a look at the UN Sustainable Goals, here. They're a shared framework for a path to a better world, and big opportunities for business leaders and entrepreneurs to take advantage. By aligning business goals with the framework and executing them with the urgency needed, entrepreneurs can expect their companies to have lasting benefits due to this greater focus and improved insight. As much as these are starting points to get involved with the most impactful causes, we need to go above and beyond to make up for lost ground.

3) Utilise technology

Students must take advantage of this current climate to build the necessary skills we need for our future careers. Technology is becoming more intertwined with our lives and we can use it to think innovatively and connect with a wide range of like-minded individuals. Just because we cannot go out and network in the traditional way at the local coffeehouse, we can do so on a much broader scale alongside technology.

4) Ask why

Seek the truth, find alternatives, push down the boundaries, think outside the industries norms and traditions, also coined the 'box.' Most importantly, a lesson we can learn from the pandemic is that we must plan always be planning for tomorrow, today.

So to sum up...

To create a more inclusive economy, we can use entrepreneurs and leaders as powerful tools. 2021 brings an uncertain world which we are emerging into with a new appetite for change.

Bring on the roaring 20's of prosperity and rebirth.

'The only way we're going to make substantial progress on the challenging problems of our time is for business to drive the solutions.' - Wendy Woods, Social Impact Strategist.

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