Entrepreneurship for the Common Good
Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur these days. Searching for the next great idea to rival Apple, Facebook, or Uber. These young and ambitious humans drinking deeply of aspirations of changing the world, making millions, and not to mention, being their own boss.
While my description of entrepreneur generalized for effect, these brave souls come in many shapes and sizes. Many (dare I say most) not driven by the almighty buck or being their own boss.
They desire to create products, services, and technologies to change the world. Make a difference. Choosing to spend their limited days on earth doing meaningful work.
Now, let me push this conversation one step further and make it personal. I want to encourage you, yes YOU, to consider entrepreneurship.
Not to become Steve Jobs #2, make a million bucks, or because you can’t use your calligraphy degree from college. You need to consider the world of entrepreneurship (small business) for the sake of human flourishing.
What is human flourishing?
Anthony Bradley, professor of theology and ethics at The King’s College, describes it this way:
“It is characterized by a holistic concern for the spiritual, moral, physical, economic, material, political, psychological, and social context necessary for human beings to live according to their design.”
This description of human flourishing related to the Hebrew idea of shalom (peace). This peace is a complete wholeness in relationship to God, other humans, and creation itself.
Entrepreneurship is vital for human flourish (and shalom). In communities where jobs are lacking and new businesses are not started... count on crime, drugs, and poverty.
In America, there are twenty nine million small businesses, which create 60-80% of all new jobs (see www.sba.gov/advocacy/7540/12143). Between 1980-2000 five million jobs lost to Fortune 500 companies, while thirty four million new jobs created through American small business and entrepreneurship (see Social Entrepreneurship by Arthur Brooks).
Now, let’s go global.
Poverty and Small Business
Bono, the lead singer of U2, changed his mind in the fight of world poverty. He blamed commerce and capitalism for the problems of under resourced people in the world. Until, he witnessed the effects of entrepreneurship.
In 1981, 52% of the world population could not provide basic needs of food and housing. Now, by 2011 this percentage dropped to only 15% (World Bank).
Entrepreneurs creating small businesses and providing work for everyday ordinary people. Job creation is a poverty killer. Even changing the mind of a rock star.
Stats are helpful. But, there's a deeper reason entrepreneurship is essential for human flourishing.
God is an entrepreneur.
He created the world out of nothing. He thought it up, designed it, and then made humans to continue his work. Being made in the image of God means to reflect his character as workers, creators, and starters of stuff. We don’t create out of nothing, but use the materials God provides, for the common good of the world.
The entrepreneur is following the example of their Creator by creating business to enhance the lives of people. They are providing jobs for people to support their families. These men and women are creating products, technologies, and providing services to make cities often more affordable and livable.
Entrepreneurship is more than money. It’s about human flourishing and loving our neighbor.
You may be on the fence about entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are not a breed of person who feel no pain, never fail, and come up with new ideas on a whim.
Not at all.
Entrepreneurship for the Common Good
Entrepreneurship is about loving people. Brave souls providing products and services to change lives. They start businesses because the flourishing of cities, towns, and villages depend on these efforts. Theses men and women are not afraid to risk it all, especially, if it means helping a person across the world flourish and find hope.
Entrepreneurship is not a fad for restless young people trying to find something to do with their lives. Creation of small business and thriving companies are not for the greedy and selfishly motivated among us. We need entrepreneurs for the common good of the world.
Entrepreneurship is here to stay. Why? God is a Creator, and we are co-creators designed to make stuff, for the benefit of our neighbor, and God’s good creation.
The world needs your idea, product, and service. Correctly, it depends on it.