In 2018, I enrolled for a General Management Programme by Gordon Institute of Business Science University of Pretoria, and as part of the design of the Programme, I had the privilege of travelling to Russia for an international immersion.
The objective of the programme was to develop well-rounded business leaders who can run a business entity and I was convinced that this was the next level for me. The choice of Moscow and St Petersburg for this module was an intriguing one but easier to understand given the rich relationship and similarity between South Africa and Russia.
Like most members of the Cohort, I had expectations of Russia before catching a flight to Dubai en-route Mosco which differed considerably from my experience in Russia. Most of the differences were pleasant surprises. No thanks to Western Media and their portrayal of Russia. One of the first unveilings of the business culture in Russia is the fact that entrepreneurship is not supported by the national culture. One of our tour guides explained how an unemployed youth will rather go to work without pay than consider the option of starting a business because there is a national shame associated with staying at home without working.
This is largely because the country is a rich nation with enough resources to take care of its population. This notwithstanding, Russia has its homegrown search engine and cab-hailing services that successfully rivalled global competitions such as Google” and Uber. The national culture of a country is one of the drivers of entrepreneurship as evident in my Russian experience. Nigerians, for example, are said to be entrepreneurial-minded. There is a local Yoruba proverb that says “Ise re, Omo alase Je, Owo re, Omo alase la” the direct interpretation is that paid employment guarantees you food while entrepreneurship guarantees you wealth. (Yoruba is one of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria West Africa)
Like most African countries, not only do our culture support entrepreneurship, it is also the alternative pathway for many to find food amid rising unemployment despite the number of graduates in the continent. Some scholars posit that there is a generational dimension to the pursuit of entrepreneurship citing that entrepreneurship is an attractive pursuit for millennials who would choose the thrill of making a difference through their business initiatives over the stability of a paid employment.
Certainly, there are many contexts to explore in discussing the subject effectively including the correlation between the number of business schools in a country and the rate of business success, the relationship between the potency of the business environment, and the national records of patents in the country.
Without a doubt, businesses are critical to a functioning and prosperous society as it influences the economy, culture, social behaviour, political and religious nuances. While there are advantages to running your own business, there are also certain skill sets required to mount over the challenges associated with building an enterprise. According to USA Today, 80% of businesses fail in the first year of operations and this is one of many pieces of research documenting the woes of running a business successfully.
As entrepreneurs navigate through the impact of COVID 19 Pandemic on businesses globally, we hope that this edition of the enterprise Organisation will inspire and embolden you to find winning response to this challenging period. Speaking about responding, we decided to change the look and feel of our magazine in response to insight generated from data and analytics from the website. What would you change about your business as you respond to the impact of COVID-19? Share with us at the firstname.lastname@example.org
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