The Herald (Harare)

17 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Entrepreneurship in Schools

opinion

Entrepreneurship can be defined as the process of mobilising and risking recourses (land, capital, human resources) to utilise a business opportunity or introduce an innovation in such a way that the needs of society for products and services are satisfied, jobs are created and the owner of the venture profits from it (Cronje et al).

This may result in new organisations or may be part of revitalising mature organisations in response to a perceived opportunity.

The most obvious form of entrepreneurship is that of starting a new business (referred to as Start-up Company). However, in recent years, the term has been extended to include social and political forms of entrepreneurial activity.

In this article I will pay particular attention to the art and science of making opportunities out of a crisis, innovations, resourcefulness, formulating a business plan and benefits of entrepreneurship to the business economy.

Innovation is the ability to see conceive and create new and unique products for the nation. Most entrepreneurs are innovative. They come up with new ideas such as a new product or service or improvement of already existing products.

The importance of innovation is shown by coming up with a new way to a product or a solution. A service industry can expand with another type of service to fulfil the ever changing needs of their clients. Producers can come up with another product from the raw materials and by-products.

Innovation results in many more businesses being created as well as increasing longevity of a business that has already been established.

Innovation is about identifying and seizing an opportunity to make lives of those around you more comfortable. Our economy needs people who continue coming up with ideas and do not settle until they come up with multiple solutions.

Entrepreneurs should be resourceful. Resourcefulness is a virtue that spans all disciplines. It is the mind's innate ability to assess a situation, observe the problem or need and figure out how to create practical work-around that issue. Resourcefulness is of vital importance in the subject of entrepreneurship as it will develop one's mental facilities. There is need for efficiency in the economy. Economic efficiency encompasses both productive and allocative efficiency.

Being resourceful is about using scarce resources to satisfy a greater portion of the infinite wants of the consumers. Resourcefulness requires the skill of innovation to a large extent.

Entrepreneurship has many advantages to the society and the nation. Firstly there will be creation of employment. In starting up a business, an entrepreneur is employing not only themselves, but, in most cases, will employ other people too.

Sometimes these members are relatives or friends, but in creating such employment, the level of unemployment will fall. If the business survives and expands, then there may be additional jobs created in the supplying businesses.

Another advantage is economic growth. Any increase in output of goods and services from a start-up business will increase the gross domestic product of a country. This is referred to as economic growth, and if enough small businesses are created, it will lead to increased living standards for the population. In addition, increased output and consumption will also lead to increased tax revenues for the Government. This allows the Government to cater for low income families for instance.

Entrepreneurs are found in SMEs, and large organisations. Entrepreneurs in small organisations are found in entities like "barbershops", hair salons (Red Rose), garages (Lictak enterprises), tuckshops, shops and bottles stores dotted in business centres and growth points.

Entrepreneurs in SMEs, are the owners of small private limited companies (Quality electrical supplies (Pvt) Ltd), private schools like Maranatha Christian High School, Tynwald High, Conway College, Speciss College, Herentials College and so on. In Zimbabwe entrepreneurs in large organisations include Strive Masiiwa (Econet), Nigel Chanakira (Kingdom Bank), just to mention a few.

A successful entrepreneur will undergo a certain entrepreneurial process. The first stage starts with the decision to be an entrepreneur. An individual who is aspiring to be an entrepreneur has to ask himself whether or not to enter into the business world. If yes, then the individual goes to analyse whether he/she has such abilities as being adaptable and innovation.

Having addressed this question the entrepreneur will then have to analyse the availability of resources to start the new venture. Then the entrepreneur has to evaluate the percentage probability chance of seizing the opportunity at hand.

The entrepreneur will then go on to consider whether the feasibility analysis shows that opportunity is feasible. If it does to a large extent then the entrepreneur goes on to formulate a business plan.

This may include the executive summary, products or services offered by the business, marketing analysis and financial statements. After a successful and convincing strategic business plan then the entrepreneur goes to the final stage which is implementation.

Currently the employment rate in Zimbabwe is said to be over 80 percent. This is not healthy for a nation. Hence entrepreneurial studies should therefore be introduced in high schools as part of the core curriculum.

Education is the best form of investment. Singapore is epitome of an economy that invested in education and now it is one of the best economies in the world. Entrepreneurship should be introduced in schools to avoid a situation whereby after completion of their studies, students take a considerable long time to find employment. Entrepreneurship teaches students to be employers rather than job seekers.

The writer is a L6 student at Maranatha Christian High School.

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