Entrepreneurship! Such a big word! But what is it exactly? Business ownership tied with financial risk and anticipation of profits or losses. Sounds fun? Not exactly. Yet, why is entrepreneurship increasing in various parts of the world, especially among youth? After all, it isnâ€™t easy. One does not simply dream up a business idea today and start the very next day. So why is this seemingly the way to go nowadays? Is it that business ownership offers an effective solution to unemployment? Hans-Peter Siefen is a 33-year-old who held his last salaried job in his teens. Currently, he is a co-founder of the Nordic Business Forum (NBF) which is an annual business seminar that invites the world’s leading business people and thinkers to the Nordics.
Initially, entrepreneurs and innovators were lacking in the Nordic Islands. Owing to the high level of ambitious youth leaving the Islands for higher education and not being replaced at the same rate, this was becoming a general issue, and thus, creating challenges to society. To remedy this, entrepreneurial teachings and education strategies were developed and mapped out in schools to help young people obtain the entrepreneurial skills required to start their own businesses. This one-year pilot project began in November 2015 with the following participating Nordic Islands: Bornholm – Denmark, AndÃ¸ya – Norway, Gotland – Sweden, Pargas â€“ Finland, Iceland, Greenland, The Faroe Islands, Ã…land.
According to the Nordic Startup Bits, the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) ranks Denmark the highest country in Europe for having the best entrepreneurs. Internationally, it ranks at number four, after the United States, Canada and Australia. The GEI further stated that Denmarkâ€™s high level of education plays a major part in what makes Danish good entrepreneurs. Also, with support of the government through the prioritization of developing a regulatory framework for new businesses and through streamlining the startup process, encompassing only four procedures at minimal costs, Denmark was able to help make entrepreneurship part of its popular culture.
However, like most of us out there, Danes are risk-averse. By getting the next generation of entrepreneurs introduced to innovation and entrepreneurship concepts in schools, as well as having young people realize that the possibilities are endless if only they are willing to go pursue their passion, risk aversions can slowly be extinguished. At the Nordic Business Forum in Helsinki, Hans-Peter Siefen revealed these six of his success measures to young entrepreneurs:
1. Take advantage of your youth – Donâ€™t mind that you may lack credibility or experience. Actually, this is an advantage as it is easier to get more attention. Attracting support for your cause can seem more likely as getting into discussions can happen relatively and with ease.
2. Be open-minded about your business idea â€“ Asking for help to improve your business should be one of your priorities! It is important to get that advice and feedback, especially from experienced entrepreneurs whoâ€™ve surely been on the same path as you.
3. Sales, sales, sales â€“ Getting experience in sales is highly recommended as it helps in areas such as: attracting investment, new customers and motivation to your team.
4. Choose your CRM software carefully â€“ Having the right kind of software enhances your customer relationship management.
5. Use content marketing to your advantage â€“ As a startup, social media can play a great role in reaching out to your audience. Distribution of content via this channel helps create your unique brand/identity and attract sales.
6. Fall in love with your customersâ€™ needs â€“ Falling in love with your customersâ€™ needs allows you to adopt new ways of thinking. For example, figuring out the best way to deliver value to your customers, can thus prompt you to desert your initial behavior and ultimately your final product.
Former President of the United States, Barack Obama would refer to small businesses as the â€œengine of our economyâ€. One question that arose was that if entrepreneurship was so vital to the American economy, why wasnâ€™t entrepreneurial education being taught in US schools? Founder of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and author of the Entrepreneurâ€™s Manifesto, Steve Marlotti attested that he has firsthand seen the powerful effect that learning to start and operate a small business has on young people. Having witnessed how owner-entrepreneurship education can create jobs, prevent students from dropping out, and provide economic rescue for people in low-income communities, Marlotti questions the likelihood of discussion on making entrepreneurship education standard in every high school in America? Is it safe to say that business ownership is an effective solution to unemployment? Definitely! By instilling this education in youth, they will be empowered and definitely act as the driving force in the economy.