A Reflection on Entrepreneurship - ‘with reference to suitable examples, which industries/sectors can provide employment opportunities for graduates in and beyond a global recession and why?'
There are so many industries that can provide opportunities for graduates in and beyond a global recession. This essay highlights four major sectors that can provide opportunities. It also gives real life example of relevant situations. Some other industries that provide graduate opportunities are also mentioned.
The essay discusses the importance of Entrepreneurship regarding economic growth and also the impact of entrepreneurs in general.
Entrepreneurship is a process whereby the entrepreneur sources for business opportunities and organizes the resources to exploit the opportunity. (Carson et al 1995)
Heilbrunn (2005) defines it as “…a dynamic process involving opportunities, individuals, organizational contexts, risks, innovation and resources. He states that, “As a process, entrepreneurship is applicable to organizations of all sizes and types.”
There are three main qualities which an individual must possess to be a successful entrepreneur. These are: entrepreneurial attitudes, entrepreneurial activity and entrepreneurial aspirations.
a) Entrepreneurial attitudes- This can be described as the level to which an individual thinks there are excellent opportunities for starting a new business. Entrepreneurial attitudes can also be described as the level of risk that a person is ready to stand in the course of starting a new business. Entrepreneurial attitudes are important because they tend to express the attitude of the public towards entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship.
b) Entrepreneurial activity- This can be described as all the attempts which a person makes to launch a new business. This also includes the decision of some firms to take part in new business opportunities.
c) Entrepreneurial aspirations- People are different, and this is reflected in their aspirations to bring in new products, new ways of producing items, new business services and if these aspirations are actualized, can influence the economic impact of these entrepreneurial activities. Entrepreneurial aspiration therefore reflects the qualitative nature of entrepreneurial activity.
Attempts to define the term ‘entrepreneur' date back to its early use in French language, where it was described as ‘one who takes between'. According to the Oxford English dictionary, the entrepreneur is 'one who owns and manages a business'. This definition does not really capture the complete responsibility of an entrepreneur which is the role of creating a new product or service. There is also the job of persuading people to buy or use the service through advertising and promotions that will make the product or service stand out. Entrepreneurship is viewed from three main perspectives:
a) Economic perspective- The economic perspective considers the function of the entrepreneur in the economic development of a country, region or locality.
b) Sociological perspective- From this perspective, an entrepreneur is seen as a member of a social system. Entrepreneurs are influenced by and through their entrepreneurial activities influence the social environment and the individuality traits that the sociological systems engender.
c) Idiosyncratic perspective- From this view, the entrepreneur is seen as an individual that possesses an incomparable combination of personal characteristics and values.
The term global recession can be described as a period of worldwide economic slowdown. This is not a standard definition of a global recession. The IMF regards it as a period when the global growth is less than 3%. (Adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/global_recession on the 26th of February, 2010)
Opportunities in and beyond of a global recession
The effect of a global recession on entrepreneurship can be argued from two different perspectives. On one hand, it can be said that a global recession can free up old markets and resources thus giving chance for some people to spot opportunities to start up new businesses given the change in their circumstances that the recession has generated. From another point of view, one can say that during a global recession we may expect fewer start-up activities because of lower start-up opportunities such as funding. During recessions, different societies are more open to change and this brings opportunity for wonderful innovations. Despite the challenges faced in the global recession, some sectors that provided job opportunities before the recession still maintained a high employment rate during the recession. These sectors are:
a) Health care
This industry can provide employment opportunities for graduates in and beyond the recession because in spite of the economic situation of a country, its people will still require medical attention. For example, Steven Lash, founder of Satori medical who has been in the business side of the medical industry saw a business opportunity in 2009 when he found out that roughly 17 percent of employer-sponsored health insurance policies now offer health reimbursement accounts (HRA's). This allows employees pay into a tax deductable fund which employees can tap into to pay for health care costs. When an employee applies HRA funds to a procedure for example hip replacement or cardiac surgery (which costs about $60000 in the USA) at one of the Satori medicals international centers of excellence, located in 7 countries like India, turkey, they get quality treatment and also save up to $40000. (Adapted from; Entrepreneur, http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/businessideas/100brilliantcompanies/article201816.html on the 26th of February, 2010).
b) IT industry
The IT industry has so many opportunities for graduates. This is so because today, everything around us is either software enabled or software constrained. This creates opportunities for IT software service providers all over the world. For example, the founder of ‘Mindtree', a software consulting company saw this opportunity and took advantage of it. The company introduced a concept called “Oneshore”. This means that, though your software may be getting coded overseas, a local team of engineers will be on hand at your office to work you through any bugs or rough patches. This reduces the cost of the organization flying software engineers from different parts of the world to come and work on their system. (Adapted from Entrepreneur, http://www.entrepreneurr.com/startingabusiness/businessideas/100brilliantcompanies/article201810.html on the 26th of February, 2010)
c) Alternative Energy
In a bid to cut down cost on electricity bills and also to go green, consumers are moving from the electric supply to solar generated energy. This change is increasing as the day goes by making the industry a fast growing one and opening up opportunities for graduates. For example, two Stanford university graduates developed a unique solar panel for their design thesis. They later decided to commercialize their idea and they took part in the PICNIC green challenge. They came second and won €100,000 (one hundred thousand Euros) to start their venture “Veranda Solar” in September 2008. (Adapted from http://www.verandasolar.com/about.shtml on the 26th of February, 2010)
The education industry is another sector that provides a very wide range of graduate opportunities. This is true because people get educated despite the economic situation. Also some people who were affected by the economic situation may decide to go back to school. The education industry is a very large, continuously growing one and it creates opportunity for a wide range of services. For example, a company ‘Anglo American Educational services', began operation a few years ago by renting apartments to American students in London. Presently, with a staff of 17, the company works with more than 90 American colleges arranging internships for students and booking guides for professors leading short-term programs in Britain. It also hires and supervises adjunct members who teach home-campus courses at Anglo American's study center in London.
(Adapted from http://www.hthworldwide.com/corp_news/ThechronicleofHigherEd_5_09.pdf on the 26th of February, 2010)
Entrepreneurship as discussed above is a very relevant factor in the growth and development of every economy and it is affected as is the entire economy by the effects of global recession. People who posse the qualities of entrepreneurship are key to every economy. Entrepreneurship can be found in large corporations as well as in small retail shops. Today entrepreneurship can be found in highly-educated managers who oversee a large organization applying entrepreneurial ideas learnt in business schools.
From the information above, it is discernible that many industries can and are providing employment opportunities for graduates in spite of the global recession. These are mainly industries that provide services that are so vital to people. For example every nation will always have a functional health system to serve its citizens. Also a good IT system is also needed to provide services to every other sector. This is so because almost all business requires IT services in one way or the other to function. Alternative energy is another sector that is growing rapidly and providing opportunities for graduates. This is because consumers are looking for cheaper means of generating their energy. The education sector continues to grow as more people get into schools these days. The education industry provides a wide range of opportunities ranging from organizing trainings for students, organizing tours for international students, arranging internships for students, getting accommodation for international students etc.
There are some other sectors that provide employment in and beyond the global recession, these include security industry, food industry and agricultural sector.
Carson, D, Cromie, S, McGowan, P., Hill, J., (1995), “Marketing and Entreprenurship in SME's, An innovative Approach”, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Heilbrunn, S. 2005. "The Impact of Organizational Change on Entrepreneurship in Community Settings",Journalof Small Business andEnterpriseDevelopment.Vol12(3): 422-436.
Hudak, Todd J. Business & Economic Review, Apr- Jun 2009 vol. 55 issue 3, p3-5, 3p;
Niels Bosma and Jonathan Levie, “Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report 2009”
http://www.hthworldwide.com/corp_news/ThechronicleofHigherEd_5_09.pdf on the 26th of February, 2010
http://www.verandasolar.com/about.shtml on the 26th of February, 2010
http://www.entrepreneurr.com/startingabusiness/businessideas/100brilliantcompanies/article201810.html on the 26th of February, 2010
http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/businessideas/100brilliantcompanies/article201816.html on the 26th of February, 2010