What to do to make young people more entrepreneurial?

The creation and development of new enterprises is thought to increase the competitiveness of a country's enterprise population, stimulate innovation and facilitate the adoption of new technologies, while helping to increase overall productivity within an economy. As such, encouraging new generations to develop an entrepreneurial spirit seems desirable for the economic health of a country as a whole. What would be the best way to encourage people to begin such an endevour?

The complex making of a competent businessman

09/21/2018 - 16:00
“Ania, set up your own company, do not work for capitalists” - this kind of advice has been given to me by my parents when I was a student. They never wanted to open their own business. My mother worked at small enterprises which hired no more than 50 people and my father worked in big concerns such as production companies. They were sure that having an idea is enough, money will be ensured by the European Union and they did not worry about the future saying “let it go”. Fortunately, I did not listen them and today I know much more than then.

10 years later, when I live in a town where the populations is over 700 000, I know something that I could not know in growing up in a village of a 1000 people. It is just after working in 3 sectors (public, private and NGO) and participating in meetings with people different than me, that I came to understand that we need to be looking for inspiration everyday… I believe that being enterprising means being special and that businessmen are above average in that sense. They are interesting thinkers, rich in experiences. And most of all they are better in discovering the unknown.

When this time is the right time

A lot of Polish businessmen, who have impressive achievements, mention that in their youth they were watching their parents' businesses (for example Marcin Grzymkowski, Jacek Domogała). This example underlines the necessity to instill entrepreneurial attitudes early on in young people. That is in fact a key: starting our professional life as early as we can, observing and trying to understand what is happening in the organization.

I for example started my first job when I was 17. I worked in clothing store in a seaside town 13 hours every day, for just 1€ per hour, selling products that our employer imported and later imposed a high margin on. Hence he was able to afford to drive a Porsche and to have a holiday in Australia. Today I’m adding to his success other factors as well, such as his leadership skills, team management, and his self-confidence which he exercised also when dealing with his workers.

Subjects that life teaches

Later I realized how valuable it was to possess interpersonal skills and to keep working on developing them. The ease of making new contacts, maintaining relationships, recognizing if we can trust acquaintances, are just some of the important ones. For example, there’s a huge need for experts in programming on the job market. The education market delivers them quickly, but at the same time there is a lack of good sales people in IT, who possess both sales skills and are ready to answer technical questions as well. Interpersonal skills in my case enable me not only to adapt well to the different environments, but mainly thanks to them I can benefit from meeting people. Does it seems to you that there is no connection between skills like that and being enterprising? Since building relations is a key in a business, the connection certainly exists.

Knowing the craft is not enough

“Ignorance of the law harms”. Despite this adage I still thought, that the law was for lawyers. Maybe for accountants too, but in any case, not for me. Today I'm aware that people need to deal with gaps in the system by themselves and that it is important to become familiar with legal regulations in our everyday lives. There is no way to understand them all, but I am convinced that the majority of the changes which occur, affect me to some extent. And I need to know the stimuli that affect me to feel confident. To run a business you need to get to know the areas and certain legal provisions - this also develops analytical skills and partly strategic (planning) skills, which allows for one to build business continuity.

There is no unnecessary skill

This leads us to the importance of courage. Do you know any good businessman who is not courageous? That is the point! This is the feature, which we should train, develop and define in life. If we aren’t brave in small issues, we won’t be brave facing bigger challenges either. Running and developing your own business requires courage. It also requires, for example, decisiveness, responsibility, predictability, risk … If you want to grasp these skills, you must first be bold. Unfortunately this skill isn't appreciated in public education. But the effects of this kind of policy impact the private sector and as a result, public life too.

Today many professions that currently "are doing quite well" in a few decades will disappear. For many, it will not be possible to develop in a certain direction and to work in their field forever. The winners will be those who are flexible, open, able and broaden their horizons. They draw from conversations with others, analyze their experiences, evaluate what skills they should acquire, or what knowledge would give them access to more resources (not only financial resources).

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

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