Make money. Be rich. When an Entrepreneur starts a business, profit is certainly a driving motivator for its success. However, it is not the motivator. The focus of the twenty-first century entrepreneur has evolved extensively from Friedman’s view of solely focusing on financial gain to that of a multi-faceted project. One of the main changes is that a corporation’s interests have now extended to include not only that of the shareholders, but that of all stakeholders. Sustainability – taking responsibility for our future generations – is the biggest buzz trend in today’s corporate world. The other ground-breaking term in the same league is Innovation. To reinvent oneself in a fast-paced world, whether it is technological innovations or cutting-edge fashion, ingenuity is one of the major deciders of successful entrepreneurs.
Today’s entrepreneur now takes upon three major dimensions as part of the Magic Triangle of successful entrepreneurship: Profitability, Innovation and Sustainability. Each aspect goes hand-in-hand, complementing each other to achieve greater accomplishments all the while taking risks and pushing beyond the edge. Only with a fine balance between each dimension, can the magic of successful entrepreneurship remain long-term.
Innovations that made the world smaller
The Apple Generation – where innovation meets technology. Steve Jobs led Apple to its greatest heights when the iPad and iPhone were created, products that one had never thought of before, but indispensible today. Or M-PESA – the radical mobile system that has re-invented the way Kenyan citizens make payments. Or Skype – where making a phone call has become a visual, intimate 2-hour long experience. Conference calls have revolutionised the notion of business meetings, saving companies millions of dollars each year from not having to fly employees worldwide.
Such innovations, which started off as mere seeds of ideas, bloomed into a generation of Millennials who are born tapping screens and instantly engaging online. Re-establishing the rulebook, thinking beyond the bars of society and taking the risk is the art these entrepreneurs have mastered.
Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean a technologic revolution. Most of the time, it enables to serve better the needs of customers and improving or optimizing the value chain. And most of the time the “Winner” is not the one who first found the idea, but the one who have better exploited it.
The creation of EasyJet by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou in 1995, where flight tickets were famously sold for less than the price of a dinner, set the standard for budget airlines. Actually, the business model existed: Stelios created Easyjet in 2005 inspired by Southwest Airlines in the US.
With the launch fo EasyJet, Europe suddenly became so much smaller as people were able to fly from Geneva to London to Nice to Rome without second thought. This innovation teamed with profitability led to the success of the easyGroup today – a now public company that continues to generate revenue year after year, outshining fellow airline companies that had taken the brunt during the recession.
Innovations that will make the world sustainable
Green companies, ecopreneurship, organic business, corporate social responsibility – all hot words on the market that have encouraged corporations to not only focus on the concern of the shareholders, but of all the stakeholders including the consumer, the supplier, the employees, and even those not as evident such as the government and the general public. Sustainability is about taking responsibility for the future generations of this world, from our personal to our professional lives. Sustainability branches into finding clean energy, or empowering women in developing countries, or the use of non-toxic materials in the production of a product. People, profit, planet – these are the defining pillars of the Triple Bottom Line and the new measurement of evaluating an organisation’s success. Today’s society needs responsible entrepreneurs who will take into account tomorrow’s impact. How does your business add up in the greater scheme of things? Is your business committed to developing the disadvantaged? Does your business actively protect the environment?
Companies such as Global Thermostat patented a technology to separate carbon dioxide molecules from the atmosphere using waste heat from industrial locations.
Or such as the 5 “EDGE Challenge” business plan winners, that all combines innovation and social or environmental impact with a highly potential of financial returns.
Written by Louise Cheng, current Bachelor of Science in Business Administration