Today marks the first day of the first annual Global Entrepreneurship Week! As we mentioned last Friday, our celebration of the general themes of entrepreneurship will take place within the specific context of the global marketplace. This is the first article of a 5 part series on global entrepreneurship which will focus on the importance and accessibility of becoming an entrepreneur on an international scale. As always, we intend the blog to be a part of a conversation - not a lecture - so feel free to comment.
Creating Something Out of Nothing
When we talk about entrepreneurship, we’re talking about a lot more than simply business, numbers, exports, etc. Entrepreneurship is about creating something tangible out of an idea, it's about crafting a superior product or service and executing a plan, and when at its best, it is about making the world a better place. Without courageous individuals willing to put themselves on the line for the sake of implementing a previously theoretical improvement, we would still live in the dark ages. This may sound like an exaggeration, but it's true -- every societal advancement can be traced back to a person with an idea and the perseverance to make it a reality.
Now, more than ever before, small businesses are emerging with significant force in the global market. Laurel Delaney, founder of GlobalTrade.com, reports that in the US alone, 230,000 small businesses are exporting their products worldwide, reflecting a 250% increase between 1987 and 2001. In fact as of 2004, 97% of US exports are from small businesses! These statistics show not only that entrepreneurship is important in international business, but also that it’s feasible. Unfortunately, these statistics only reflect 10% of small businesses.
So if exporting can be done successfully, why aren’t more small businesses doing it? Laurel Delaney has an answer: “They lack knowledge, resources, technology, incentives, support, brand recognition, competitive pricing and, in some cases, guts. Although these arguments are tentative, they are indeed a reality and must be taken into account when addressing how small businesses and entrepreneurs can best realize their potential in the global marketplace.”
While you can only find courage within yourself, globalEDGE can help you find the information you need to more successfully pursue your dream and promote your idea. And who knows, maybe after spending some time with our wealth of resources, global entrepreneurship won't seem so scary anymore.
IRS Page on starting a business
The World Is Your Market: Small Businesses Gear up for Globalization - Laurel Delany
gE Module: The World Is Open For Business
The World Bank Group Entrepreneurship Survey site