Even as the world progresses, poverty continues to plague mankind. According to the World Bank, 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 per day. The World Entrepreneurship Forum (http://www.world-entrepreneurship-forum.com/) believes that we can solve this poverty problem through Entrepreneurship.
We must believe Entrepreneurship is not just about wealth creation; it is also about the pursuit of social justice. Social justice can definitely come about by creating good jobs for all, and also, giving equal opportunities through meritocratic systems and through social entrepreneurship. At the World Entrepreneurship Forum, we have bene focusing on Entrepreneurs as creates of wealth and social justice and if nations want to uplift their population, they need to adopt such a mindset.
On the 26th of June 2013, I attended and participated at the United Nations Thematic Debate called “Entrepreneurship for Development” held in New York. All members of the United Nations were gathered to also discuss how entrepreneurship can help solve the world’s development problems. What struck me most during the one day debate was that the world is indeed going through an Entrepreneurial Revolution. The interesting thing I noticed at the United Nations debate is that whether it is America or Zambia, whether it is the East or the West of the world, whether it is a developed nation or an emerging nation – everyone is all geared up to participate in the Global Entrepreneurial Revolution and everyone is talking the same language of Entrepreneurship for the creation wealth and social justice. And what are the common things that cut across nations, cultures and societal attitudes? Here are some of them;
The Singapore Story has been one characterized by transformation through Entrepreneurship. Our founding fathers, led by Mr Lee Kuan Yew perhaps characterize the true spirit of entrepreneurship creating the SINGAPORE of today, one that many expected to fail after independence. And what were the success factors that led to Singapore success;
But we all know things cannot be the same forever and that change is the reality we have to face. So some 12 years ago, we saw the need to reinvent our economic development model for sustainable development. What worked in the past did not work well in a more complex world especially when all of Asia was developing rapidly and could offer the same or more of what Singapore could offer at a cheaper price and in much bigger numbers. Among the strategies, Entrepreneurship was identified as one of the key strategies for us to rejuvenate our economy and to bring Singapore progress for the next 30 years. Singapore needed to reinvent herself. One of the most important decisions the government made was to make entrepreneurship a key strategy and one of the core drivers of our future economy. An offshoot of this key strategy was the realization that the government alone can no longer play the dominant in driving the change and in creating future strategies for the economy. A new partnership was therefore forged between the Government and the Private Sector. Today we will see many such partnerships and one example is the Action Community Entrepreneurship where a group of successful and aspiring entrepreneurs got together as a group to identify solutions to create a better Eco-system to promote entrepreneurship and to have a conducive environment to support start-up and entrepreneurs.
Thirteen years on, we have seen the fruits of our labour as ACE has been able to transform societal attitudes towards accepting entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs. The notion of success has also become more diversified compared to the old model of success where government scholarship and a government job or working for large multinationals was considered a more successful career than starting companies. We have been able to make Singapore one of the best Eco-systems for entrepreneurship development and we are seeing many more of our young starting companies that are able to compete globally. Our Education System as transformed such that today is a lot more flexible and that no longer just focuses on academic excellence as a measure of success. We are seeing many more of our young excelling in the Arts and Sports and their special talents. In the past these talents were less valued in Singapore. Just look at the outcome, today, in June 2015, our local athletes and sportsmen and sportswomen have won so many medals, never achieve in history. This as possible only because of societal mind-set change which I would like to attribute some of it to ACE but at a broader level to our change of mind-set as to what constitutes success and what is needed to create a more vibrant Singapore. I am sure we will be seeing many more world class companies emerging from Singapore.
Singapore has transformed herself through and innovative and Entrepreneurial Mind-set. I see no reason why any country or company cannot make the same transformation. As I mentioned earlier, Entrepreneurship is today a Global Common Language and it is not difficult to learn from others. I see a huge Global Entrepreneurial Revolution sweeping the world and those who don’t participate in this Revolution risk being left behind.