Entrepreneurs are proving to be resilient as firms of all sizes struggle in uncertain economics times, says Dr Gideon Maas, co-director of the Institute of Applied Entrepreneurship at Coventry University.
One can easily end in a spiral of negativity regarding the impact of the economic situation on us but entrepreneurs are far from doomed in such an environment.
Various fast-changing trends are affecting everyone – the impact of the credit crunch, higher cost of living, employees of all types of companies are retrenched, and companies are closing their doors. However, positives are the intervention of new products and services by enterprising individuals who recognise an opportunity.
For decades entrepreneurs have seen and survived the worst of economies because their business is about identifying a need and fulfilling it.
In negative situations there are always winners and losers. There are those that knew what goes up will come down, and therefore saved for those difficult days.
It it is not uncommon to participate in networking events where “business angels” say that they have enough cash to invest if they can only find those people willing to implement a new idea.
Those who lived too close to credit lines feel a bit burned. They are the people who are closing doors and retrenching people. However, they are not to be blamed for that because they have invested in the “School of Hard Knocks” and will probably emerge better entrepreneurs from this situation.
The environment is right to create more entrepreneurs. In times of “chaos” entrepreneurs will grow because chaos means there are opportunities to be exploited. Do you have the right skills and attitude to see these opportunities?
The latter brings us to how entrepreneurs identify trends and subsequent opportunities and their possible impact on organisations. It is not a question of whether this should be done but how; it is still the UK Government’s enterprise vision to make the UK the world’s most enterprising economy and the best place to start and grow a business.
This vision is also supported by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship who state that they firstly need to increase the number and sustainability of student graduate start-ups and, secondly, to increase the number of student graduates giving serious thought to starting up a business in all its forms.
Coventry University supports the above visions and accepts that the provision of entrepreneurship education and enterprise support is changing – the university created the Institute of Applied Entrepreneurship to bring together the best in education, enterprise support and applied research.
Coventry Univeristy is dedicated to supporting students from National Vocational Qualification and foundation degree to PhD level in developing their entrepreneurial capability, alongside support for the creation of new business start-ups by students, graduates, staff and from within the local community.
Providing an integrated approach between education and enterprise support enables would-be and established entrepreneurs to be recognised for applying knowledge in transforming an idea into reality and developing the commercial success of their new enterprise.
Coventry University has had a rise in demand for entrepreneurship support and trusts that the more successful entrepreneurs will enter the market and support socio-economic growth. How will individuals – entrepreneurs as change agents – manage? They should be supported to manage challenges that the global environment provides.