Cultivating Courage and Accountability
We know from historical data that the healthiest way to create a vibrant and prosperous economy is to develop an entrepreneurial environment that inspires businesses to flourish. Our country was founded and built on the entrepreneurial spirit, and America has been the global example of what happens when this spirit is nurtured.
History and economics are cyclical. We developed as a nation by being unconsciously aware that we were an entrepreneurial economy. As our economy grew, we suffered the cyclical effects of economics. On top of the normal recessionary periods, we experienced the Great Depression and the most recent great recession. Throw in a couple of World Wars, and you end up in a government-dominated society that financially supports over 50 percent of the population.
There are two values that are the core fundamentals of entrepreneurialism – courage and accountability. The spirit of entrepreneurialism does not mean everyone will start a business, but it does mean that individuals work and provide for themselves instead of being dependent. Because of our growth and the opportunities we provide as a nation, people tend to forget how young the American economy is when compared with the rest of the world.
A New Day Is Dawning
However, I believe we are entering a new era, with an undercurrent that is building with a magnitude never seen before; the tsunami that is coming is an entrepreneurial revolution. Everyone will benefit from this incredible wave, but in order to catch it and ride it, we must move intentionally to create entrepreneurial ecosystems to purposely stimulate and inspire the entrepreneurial spirit.
We are becoming consciously aware of the entrepreneur. All one must do is look back to 1995 and there was less than a handful of collegiate entrepreneur courses. Today, almost every college offers courses and most provide accredited degrees.
Florida Tech, Eastern Florida State College (formerly Brevard Community College), Rollins College and the University of Central Florida are all leading and providing opportunities to teach the methods and mindset of entrepreneurialism. The Orlando region, which we are a part of, is leading the way nationally with the building of an entrepreneurial ecosystem to support the development of new businesses. Through partnership and collaboration (two very important values of entrepreneurs), organizations like Orlando Inc., UCF’s GrowFL, The National Entrepreneur Center, and the regional EDCs and chambers all work together to foster the entrepreneurial spirit.
It’s Not the Critics Who Count
The naysayers to the entrepreneurial philosophy constantly point to those who fail and the personal risk they suffer as to why government-supported programs and big companies are what create stability and security. Their argument actually defies the soul of the entrepreneur, “I would rather try and fail than to never try.” In order to give birth to innovation, creativity, and prosperity there must be failure. What you cannot accept is quitting; that is why perseverance is the soul of the entrepreneur.
It is not the government’s job to provide for my well-being; it is the government’s job to protect the environment, which allows me to pursue my own life, liberty and prosperity. You cannot remove what God inspired; all individuals are genetically wired to create and build. What is the result of an entrepreneurial driven economy? JOBS!
Nurture the Spirit
We must continue to nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship and realize it is the best way to release the full potential of human beings. As our local economies foster these opportunities, our nation changes; at this juncture we have to move with conscious awareness of the end we desire to achieve.
Individually, we tend to live in bubbles and then ask “Why?” after something has happened. As Wayne Gretzky is famous for saying, “I don’t skate to where the puck is but to where it will be.” Real genius is looking forward with 20/20 vision. It is our responsibility to continue to reduce government intrusion and foster opportunity, to teach with purpose the values of entrepreneurialism, and to provide educational opportunities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas and the knowledge of our heritage as a country.
In order for our economy to seize the moment, we must with intention open the doors of communication to create a healthy entrepreneurial environment. No self-serving agendas can be allowed at the table, only what fosters the betterment of the environment, then…let the players play.