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The Entrepreneur An Evolutionary Concept

An entrepreneur’s individual capability may be divided into three components i.e. entrepreneurial spirit, human capital and venture capital. In the entrepreneurial context this ‘agent’ neither knows the outcome or can calculate corresponding probabilities.

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The word evolutionary is vague. Economists like Jolink and Hodgson stated it signifying little or nothing. Meanwhile, evolutionary economists like Schumpeter and Kirzner re-examined and accelerated the evolutionary theory by introducing themes like innovation confined to an economic system. Innovation means originality, newness, freshness, uniqueness as in the dictionary. The innovations tend to ignore or/and address the economic changes spurred by the dynamic entrepreneur, who is engaged in creating wealth and job towards economic development.

To our understanding this entrepreneur undergoes uncertainties building on decisions at each phase of business life cycle. This may differ between incumbent entrepreneurs while identifying opportunities and utilising it. The entrepreneur may be certain or uncertain on the out come of such entrepreneurial moves but this associates with a lot of probabilities. We cannot deprive him from optimising on the capabilities possessed, thereby taking the best decision optimising upon resources and capabilities. These decisions are clearly a result of an evolution by the individual, the endowments and the business environment, which is always volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). 

An entrepreneur’s individual capability may be divided into three components i.e. entrepreneurial spirit, human capital and venture capital. In the entrepreneurial context this ‘agent’ neither knows the outcome or can calculate corresponding probabilities.

The entrepreneurial component comprises the indescribable characteristics as stated in Schumpeter’s entrepreneur. It is difficult to discrete the entrepreneur and the association of “risk” with the element of being human on the entrepreneurial composition. We must understand that ‘every human being has a prospective of a human action’.

The second component ‘human capital’ refers to one of the more successful approach to research. This approach constituted by Schultz and elaborated by Becker attempts to elucidate optimal investment in human capital while delivering insights on the distribution of income. The emphasis is on the consequence of human capital towards establishing an enterprise. If the incumbents expect the returns of going entrepreneurial to be more than being an employee, on become an entrepreneur will be preferred.

The other element is venture capital. Few think entrepreneurs as a risk taker while most view as a capitalist maker. This is not contradictory but complementary. The capital making is normally possible by taking calculated risk. Whether he borrows from other resources or generates is just for the good of understanding it. Few fails to sustain and drop out of their venture. Some diversify from the risks and shallow down to lower risky businesses. What is imperative to understand as to how the entrepreneur, the actor or agent in discussion, manoeuvres to his success in establishing the firm of his choice, to the industry he wishes to associate with and lastly in further establishing the way to emerging markets. The presence and availability of social networks should not be discounted, as networks have the ability to influence on entrepreneurial actions.

Intermediate assessment

Once firms are established, they are engaged in entrepreneurial extension to becoming innovative between competitive pressures to expand into newer territories. Here in, early entrants have a competitive advantage by utilising the market potential in the struggle to compete and survive against the larger established ones. This is where the evolutionary intent continues.

The best practices by the entrant firms are commonly replicated. But at times in short run, some firms have expressed higher return in profits those that have emulated the ideas and adopted to best suit their own markets with higher technological absorption capacity. The other reason could be the market capitalisation and resource utilisation as a result of abundance in the market size.

With entrepreneurial firms growing their existence in the market, the competitive ring increases, and with the growth shrinking some early exits are witnessed. Many lose their capital and vanish, while select ones still march on changing their trajectory, creating followers.

Sources of opportunity and risk

Opportunity drives entrepreneurship and innovation. The discovery sources as in science tends to exploit the excessive demand and supply in the form of inventions. These market imperfections engage high level of interpretations and coordination in different settings. 

There are four types of risks associated with the creation the entrepreneurial venture. These are Technological, Market, Execution and Financial risks. Technology risk are connected to the question whether the product/service work? How much money and time is needed to evaluate this? Market risk associates with the uncertainty of will anyone buy it at a price that will return a profit? How will the entrepreneur find its customers? Execution risk relates to the implementation of the incumbent’s business plan and the financial risk circles around the funding.

Technology risk: Seems to be higher in ventures based around technology. This will certainly involve ensuring official protection of intellectual property. Market risk: The customers do not buy technology; they acquire solutions to problems. This must be appropriately addressed. Execution risk: This is very high. The successful commercialisation depends on the ability of technology developers to integrate and synergise with the people who initiate business development. Financial risk: Since this involves generating sources of private capital, the investors shall presume a high return on their investment with a greater degree of control. 

The entrepreneur is persistently engaged as an evolutionary balancing the dynamic transformations and challenges caused due to turbulence or VUCA conditions. The above are potential factors that support the entrepreneurial environment. Besides this there are supportive elements needed to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit.

Supportive elements that need to be encouraged

  1. Cultural Characteristics: An ability to see good business opportunities; knowing someone who has started a business; a belief in personal skills to initiate (also an education issue) and have a low fear towards failure (while starting a business)
  2. Educational factors: The high standard of general education in the population; high levels of participation in post-secondary education; high level of confidence in ownership of relevant business skills
  3. Policy Factors: The holistic approach to entrepreneurship policy and long-term horizon and stability of programs
  4. Financial support factors: The access to risk capital for entrepreneurial firms with availability of an informal risk capital.
  5. Other factors: The availability of networks with a cultural preference to use them and maintain a solid base of R&D investment

Uncertainties to be minimised

  1. Cultural Characteristics: The intolerance of failure and/or honest mistakes and the suspicion of success
  2. Educational factor: Lack of understanding of the business sector
  3. Policy factors: This implies towards the bureaucracy impacting business start-ups and taxation systems that penalise businesses. 
  4. Financial support factors: This reflects to the inflexibility of providers of debt capital 

What is the take away?

The entrepreneurs as evolutionist must be role models, taking up the challenge with a creative and distinct leadership. They must inspire. Their entrepreneurial firms must create employment and collective be a role model. They must overcome any kind of unexpected and unknown challenges such as VUCA challenges and exhibit an evolutionary role at each stage in their entrepreneurial journey. Do you have this revolutionary inside you to become a creative entrepreneurial leader?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Prof (Dr) Manoj Joshi

The author is a Fellow Institution of Engineers, Professor of Strategy, Director, Centre for VUCA Studies, Amity University, with over 29 years of experience in industry & research. He has authored over 75 articles, co-authored three books 'The VUCA Company', 'The VUCA Learner', 'Role of Business Incubators in Economic growth of India' and is also on the editorial board of several international refereed journals.

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Dr Aseem Chauhan

The author is a Founding Trustee of the Amity Education Group and currently serves as Chancellor Amity University. He is an institution-builder with a vision to help make Amity one of the leading education providers in the world. Dr. Chauhan is the founder and CEO of Amity Innovation Incubator.

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Dr Ashok Kumar

Dr. Ashok Kumar is Ph.D with professional qualifications in Business Management & Demography with advanced training in Management at Ashorne Hill College of Management, UK and has authored books and papers. He is a consultant with Centre for VUCA Studies, Amity University and has 47 years of experience as Professor of IIM Indore, Professor at Amity University and GM in SAIL.

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