Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Entrepreneurial Manifesto

PROFIT Magazine this month published its 25th anniversary issue. To help mark the event, they published my essay on the roots of Canadian entrepreneurial culture, Entrepreneurial Nation.

Canada, the faithful colony that didn't rebel, wasn’t a predictable home for an entrepreneurial explosion. But take one recession, mix with low commodity prices, and stir in a demanding new generation of well-educated baby boomers, and you have a recipe for magic.

The result was an entrepreneurial revolution that changed the face of Canada—and just in time. The past quarter-century has seen shock after shock, from recession to NAFTA and globalization, from the PC to the spreadsheet to e-commerce. By pioneering innovation, new market niches and lower-cost ways of doing business, entrepreneurs helped the Canadian economy adapt to tough times and keep on growing. Since entrepreneurs shine in unstable environments, it seems likely that Canada's entrepreneurial revolution will keep right on churning. With advancing technology, new competition from China, India and other "tiger" markets, an aging population and a tightening energy supply, Canada will face many challenges—but its entrepreneurs, if history is any guide, will lead the way by facing them first.

The story cites 10 key factors that led to revolution.

PEOPLE: Growing up in an environment of boundless confidence and economic progress, baby-boomers first enjoyed the fruits of a burgeoning consumer culture—and then started pushing the barriers.
DEREGULATION: As old business models slowly changed, entrepreneurs such as Max Ward (Wardair) drove stakes through the heart of the old economy.
CONSUMERS: As post-war affluence and immigration exposed Canadians to a wider diversity of cultures, styles and ways of life, consumer tastes changed forever, and "white bread" producers of commodities struggled to keep pace.
OUTSOURCING AND THE DECLINE OF BIG BUSINESS: The first seven decades of the 20th century witnessed the growth of massive, integrated companies that centralized all production and control; the last 30 years saw the decline of corporations that try to be good at everything.
SOCIAL CHANGE: Shifting family structures, the rise of environmentalism, demands for daycare and the aging of the boomers are just a few forces transforming society and creating entrepreneurial opportunities.
TECHNOLOGY: Entrepreneurs thrive in volatile marketplaces, and technology has disrupted them all. On another level, the rise of affordable technology tools enabled many small businesses to compete with bigger rivals for the first time.
WORLD MARKETS: As global trade barriers fall, many companies have foundered, but others have thrived.
IMMIGRATION: From Asian emigrants such as ATI's K.Y. Ho to Roots; Budman and Green (from Detroit), citizens-by-choice have applied their entrepreneurial energies to Canadian business.
NEW BUSINESS PROCESSES: The endless need for greater efficiency and innovative business practices creates a constant flow of entrepreneurial opportunities.
THE AGE OF IMAGINATION: The leaders of the entrepreneurial revolution grew up in an era of Disney, Expo 67, Star Trek and the Apollo moon landing. To them, nothing was impossible.

Based on factors such as these, do you see any reason to believe the entrepreneurial revolution is over?

Read the whole story here.

No comments: