#8 Thilde Langevang
Entrepreneurship is a value creation process, which involves turning ideas into action, seizing opportunities and managing resources creatively. The exact features and expressions of entrepreneurship and the type of value created, however, depend on the context.
In my view, it is important that the concept of entrepreneurship is not delimited to the activities of hero individuals who introduce radical innovations to the market, but also includes the more mundane undertaking of a variety of actors. Most entrepreneurship research has focused on business elites in the global North while there has been a tendency to ignore or disregard the entrepreneurial activities of "ordinary people" in the global South. A number of African countries, for example, are currently recording very high levels of entrepreneurship (measured as business start-up activities) in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. This activity, however, is, if at all considered entrepreneurship, often devalued as "necessity entrepreneurship" indicating that it is considered an inferior form of entrepreneurship pushed by poverty and lack of other choices.
It has proven very difficult to determine the key characteristics or personality traits of entrepreneurs. It could be argued that not too much effort should be put into trying to answer this question since much entrepreneurial activity is not being enacted by isolated individuals but by groups of people, organizations and communities. Instead of focusing so much on the individual entrepreneur and his/her traits I support the move towards focusing on the process of entrepreneurship, its features, the various factors that influence it, and the types of value created.
Entrepreneurship education should attune students to various forms and domains of entrepreneurship. Students should be equipped with the tools and methods needed to initiate new businesses, events, projects, organizations etc. in different societal context.
for the public sector?
Entrepreneurship plays an important role for both private and public organizations since entrepreneurship is a key means through which organizations react to change and become agents of change.
Currently there is a lot of focus on all the positive effects of entrepreneurship on society. This is, for example, the case in development discourse where the current move "from aid to trade" and the focus on private sector development imply a new emphasis on enterprises and entrepreneurship as the key drivers of economic growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation in developing countries. While entrepreneurship can make a difference for some poverty stricken individuals and deprived communities around the globe, it is important that we do not overestimate the effect and uncritically celebrate private initiative.