Entrepreneurship as a way to more than just making money
So the job search hasn’t been going very well and you’re a young whippersnapper straight out of school. Your head is full of bright ideas and, hey, why shouldn’t you be an entrepreneur?
Many people go into entrepreneurship to make money. After all, in a seemingly endless recession with waning job opportunities coupled with universities churning out thousands of educated graduates every year, the allure of starting your own thing is actually quite tempting. There’s this notion we have when we think about entrepreneurs; we think Bill Gates, we think Zuckerberg, we think college dropout.
However, with the average age of entrepreneurs in the US being 39, and 50% of startups dying in the first five years, I think there’s a disconnect between reality and perception and that the popular vision of what an entrepreneur is, even in the American context, is not actually true. As with most efforts of making money, entrepreneurship is really difficult.
Luckily, MaRS exists to enhance productivity, build economic prosperity and create jobs in our knowledge economy. We are equipped to help budding entrepreneurs.
But I believe entrepreneurship is not just about making a lot of money, it’s also about solving problems. I think the job and wealth creation theme is a piece of the story, but not the whole story. I’m talking about a moral imperative to entrepreneurship.
I don’t mean to spread doom and gloom, but there are many things in our world that don’t work and I think people feel it at a very visceral level on a grand scale: like if a person loses their job at age 50 years old and they might never work again, or a rare cancer type that is affecting a loved one.
Now, I haven’t quite figured out how to succinctly articulate this moral imperative (perhaps in the next post?). I’m sure people a lot smarter than I am will come up with a way. I do want to end on a positive and optimistic note though; I believe MaRS is committed to working on the future through new initiatives like the Solutions Lab and I’m hopeful that a moral mission will join other levers that accelerate the innovation process.