Although entrepreneurship tends to be perceived as something opposed to co-operation, this view is not accurate, argued economist Rebecca Harding at Congress.
Ms Harding, Chief Executive of Delta Economics, said that for only three to four per cent of entrepreneurs profit making is an end in itself. She said: “Most entrepreneurs see themselves as change agents."
Ms Harding argued that the message sent by The Apprentice or Dragons Den is one of separation, rather than collaboration, causing damage to entrepreneurship promotion.
According to the survey by Delta Economics, one of the most commonly stated reasons for starting a business, cited by 46.6 per cent of entrepreneurs from all countries, is “making a difference”, with nearly 43 per cent of these saying that making a difference was their primary motivation. The percentage goes up to 60 per cent in Germany. In the UK, one in four entrepreneurs are primarily motivated to start up a business in order to make a difference.
According to the same survey, growth oriented entrepreneurs in India, Italy, South Africa and Brazil are also concerned about the environmental impact, this being one of their main motivation for going into business.
The figures, argues Rebecca Harding, confirm the real motivations of entrepreneurs are more complex, rather than simple, and social, as much as financial.
Entrepreneurs who aim to make a difference are also more innovative and bring new products to market, explained Ms Harding. She explained that if entrepreneurs focus only on making profit, they in fact make less money that if they had a broader perspective because they tend to ignore other managerial issues.
Asked by Glen Bowen from Wales Co-operative Centre what key message could be taken from the survey to turn individual entrepreneurs into collaborative entrepreneurs, Rebecca Harding said the tagline should be “you do well by doing good”.
UK economy needs a Kitchener moment
Referring to the study, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, Ed Mayo, said the UK economy needs to encourage mass entrepreneurship, rather than encouraging the idea that enterprise is for someone else.
Said Mr Mayo: "The co-operative movement is not just about promoting co-ops, but also about meeting people’s needs. Entrepreneurship is key part of that."
The survey included 2,500 growth-oriented entrepreneurs from 13 developed and emerging countries: the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium Brazil, the USA, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
• The Collaborative Entrepreneur is published by Co-operatives UK as part of Co-operatives Fortnight and can be downloaded from www.uk.coop/collaborative-entreprenuer
In this article
- Business models
- chief executive
- Co-operative Congress 2013
- Co-operatives UK
- Consumer cooperative
- Contact Details
- Delta Economics
- Ed Mayo
- Person Career
- Rebecca Harding
- Social Issues
- The Co-operative brand
- The Co-operative Group
- United Kingdom
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