The Future of Entrepreneurship

In a previous post, I gave out about the report Innovation & The Irish Manager. My problems were mostly to do with how the document was delivered, and the difficulties involved in printing it off and thelemonade standn reading it.

Another issue I have is that it is more of a psychological report. I would have preferred to see examples of innovation, specifics of what is going right and wrong, and recommendations on how all areas of Irish society could be organised to encourage entrepreneurship.

All that aside, the report does make some suggestions to help entrepreneurship in Ireland. Saying there is a clear link between innovation and the economic well-being of a country, the report adds:

The cultivation  of an entrepreneurial culture in our school system is a precursor to the development of specific skills.

That is an interesting point, because, on the other side of the Altantic, Dan Pallotta worries that America is losing its ability to train its young entrepreneurs. Writing on the Harvard Business Review blog, Pallotta recalls how neighbourhoods used to teem with businesschildren. They mowed lawns, delivered papers, sold lemonade and generally learned about business first hand.

Back then, we didn’t call what we were doing entrepreneurship. We didn’t know we were learning about contracts and receivables, marketing and capitalization. But we were internalizing the skills that underlie those labels.

Pallotta says American kids don’t do that any more, and he wonders if those skills can be taught as effectively in school. We don’t have that same culture in Ireland, but the IDA/IMI report also recognises that these skills should be imparted early.

[A]n emphasis on appreciating entrepreneurial activity needs to start as early as possible.

The report also has this to say about government:

The public sector might sensitive (sic) itself to the nature of entrepreneurial success and how best to foster and support it.

That’s a bit weak, and reads like someone is afraid of offending someone else. Don’t worry, lads. Entrepreneurs are used to rejection.

Lemonade stand photo by Mauricio  Balvanera on Flickr.