Is Entrepreneurship a Necessity for the Future of Developing Nations?

We wrote this article about a year ago while attending the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2) in Istanbul, Turkey. This week, the same summit (GES 3) is taking place in Dubai so it is appropriate to bring back this article the next two posts that are also related to entrepreneurship.

Over the last two days [December 2011] I have been in the beautiful city of Istanbul to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit number 2. The reason for the number 2 is that the first one took place in the United States last year and number 3 will be in the United Arab Emirates in 2012.

Istanbul, TurkeyBackground

The idea behind The Entrepreneurship Summit came from a speech that President Barrack Obama made in Egypt in 2009 that promised a closer ties between the United States and the countries with Muslim majority. Due to the importance of the Summit, this one was hosted by Turkey under the aegis of the Prime Minister of Turkey, who could not attend the opening for medical reasons but at least two Turkish ministers participated along with a minister from the UAE and United States Vice President. Now whether these summits are helping relations is to be debated but this blog is not the place for that discussion.

What is Entrepreneurship?

For some, it is “the courage to act”, it is about “challenging the status quo”, and in West Asia / North Africa it is expected to be the solution for current and future unemployment, especially among youth and the average age in this region is YOUNG (24 in the Arab World, 28 in Turkey) so youth unemployment is a huge challenge that must be dealt with NOW.

All World Network

In parallel to the Entrepreneurship Summit 2 there is almost an independent conference going on where I spent all of today at, which is All World Network, an initiative launched a few years ago with a focus on entrepreneurship, small and medium enterprises and growth. They include the Arabia 500+ Turkey rankings where SUKAD is proud to be one of the 500 ranked companies on the inaugural year of this ranking.

Most of the notes below came from today’s sessions that were organized by All World – amazing job.

Learning and Items Worth Noting

Some interesting learning at the summit and some dull moments but in general most speakers, panelists and attendees agree that Entrepreneurship is a must for economic growth in any country or region.

Quite a few debates are discussed at the summit and we will just highlight some points here.

  • Are entrepreneurs born or made? This is basically the traditional debate of nature versus nurture. The general consensus? Some are born with innate skills to be entrepreneurs but others can learn how to become a successful one.
  • What are the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs? I am not sure if there is consensus here but a large number of those speaking or engaging say: “access to capital is the number 1 problem”. Others say maybe “access to market”. Yet another argument mentions “talent acquisition” while others are argue that today talent acquisition is not an issue, rather it is “work ethics“.
  • Are government helping or hindering entrepreneurship? Tough one and I am not sure if there is an answer that is common across the large spectrum of countries represented at the Summit. Turkey seems to be doing well in supporting where other countries might not and some are trying but “government still do not get it” as one of the speakers emphasized.
  • How can we work across borders? Interesting discussions. No clear answers but some panels are addressing opportunities. Today, the first panel discussed possible Turkish – Pakistani opportunities. Tomorrow morning there will be a discussion on Turkish – Saudi collaborations. Yet we all realize that it is very hard to work across countries and it is “mostly having to start from scratch in each country” as another speaker elaborated.
  • What is the role of social media? Interesting learning from this session this afternoon. One interesting point from a speaker is that “many large companies in the region want to use social media but want to block comments”. A question was raised from the audience about “when is the right time for a company to launch social media … in other words if the company has internal problems should they be on social media?” A success story from Palestine is mostly about recruitment through mobiles and the need to “integrate social media with SMS”.

There is a great deal of learning and only shared a few thoughts here.

Tomorrow or the day after I hope to share the learning from Day 3 sessions (although it would be a late night tomorrow with the Arabia 500 recognition gala).

Maybe later this week, will have an article on Entrepreneurship and Project Management and the importance of project management in the launch of any new idea, business, initiative.

Stay tuned.


This entry was posted in Entrepreneurship and tagged , , on by .

About Mounir Ajam

Mounir Ajam is eager to awaken the giant of project management within individuals, organizations, and nations! Mounir is a project management author, executive, consultant, and social entrepreneur. Mounir is open to further learning and knowledge sharing.He has global experience working on projects in the United States, Europe, South East Asia, West Asia, and Africa. He has been privileged to work on multiple small projects and mega projects.

7 thoughts on “Is Entrepreneurship a Necessity for the Future of Developing Nations?

  1. SUKAD Admin

    This comment was posted on Oman Business and Professional Network group
    by Crispin Garden-Webster, LFHRINZ,

    Absolutely. Just so long as we are clear what we mean by entrepreneurship. Often it is used vaguely as meaning to have a focus on business development and clever business thinking. The reality is that an entrepreneur is someone who commits their own money and resources to start something original.

  2. SUKAD Admin

    This comment was posted on PMLink – Project Management Link – Project, Program & Portfolio Managers, PMP, PMBOK, PMO group by Jim Simons, PMP,

    Government is typically very, very bad at understanding how to encourage
    – Making loans to risky businesses has demonstrated that the U.S. gov’t is not good at identifying winners.
    – Regulatory burdens are ever-increasing and are probably already unachievable. I.E. there are no building which are OSHA compliant.
    On the plus side the government does push for:
    – Net neutrality(though not very wisely–I don’t want my voice traffic treated exactly the same as my banking transactions and my streaming video

  3. SUKAD Admin

    comment was posted on Qatar Business Network
    http://www.qbusnet.comgroup by Kathleen Mistry,

    The future of developing business in emerging
    markets will be aided by entrepreneurs. The serious attitude, dedication and
    goals set by family owned businesses is a vital part of growing developing
    economies. With training programs given by seasoned business people those new
    in business can help them achieve higher rates of success.

  4. SUKAD Admin

    comment was posted on Qatar Business Network
    http://www.qbusnet.comgroup by Yasemin

    We’ve seen time and again that violently
    bashing heads together produces no desirable result. It’s time for a different

    “One day we must
    come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means
    by which we arrive at that goal.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

  5. SUKAD Admin

    This comment was posted on LinkedIn PMLink – Project Management Link – Project, Program & Portfolio Managers, PMP, PMBOK, PMO group by Sylvie Leduc,
    Hi Sukad,
    I believe it is indeed a necessity as important as a solid educational system. They should essentially be embedded into one and another.
    In developed countries we have an obligation to structure and transfer our knowledge to the populations that need our expertise to move entrepreneurship forward with minimal failures as those countries do not possess such strong financial and social infrastructures as we are lucky to have.

  6. Balera Susanne

    I agree that entrepreneurship is the game for today and the future, however as mentioned in the article access to finance and market are the challenges met by the youth. It is unfortunate that Governments and organizations have big policies and strategies to drive the entrepreneurial spirit among the youth but change is not visible at all. WHY?
    1. A big number of the youth still think of white color jobs a the in thing, director, finance manager and so on.
    2. The have the mentality that the people doing entrepreneurship of any sort are the failures of formal education, as many people from institutions just run for office work mentioned above..
    3. Many people who pursuit entrepreneurship are born but few do it after school.

    What should be done to encourage the not born entrepreneurs?
    I believe in education right from primary school, learning how to handle money, learning that money is a hard earned, doing and practicing entrepreneurial projects. This can also be done in secondary school learning on loans and savings and so on. Life skills is very good at this level to do negotiation, decision making and so on. after college the people would have the motivation of setting up their own companies.

    There cannot be consensus on the challenges of entrepreneurship because different countries face different changes for example in my country access to finance, coming up with marketable ideas is a very big challenge.

    On the rising unemployed almost in the whole, it is good to start thinking of entrepreneurship as a solution and then start learning and exchange of knowledge across countries.


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