Sunday 17 November 2019

Entrepreneurs are the key to recovery

Never mind the Government, we can always go out and make our own jobs and better life, suggests Blaise Brosnan

A Kerryman has a lot to do with the way the world is today. Richard Cantillon of Ballyheigue Castle came up with the concept of entrepreneurialism about 300 years ago. He lived in north Kerry at the turn of the 17th Century and from a young age he roamed between there and his uncle's home in Paris. His uncle was a banker. Cantillon would slip out of Ballyheigue harbour and sail back and forth to France, studying economics.

Cantillon's theory of economics supposedly came from watching the farmers and the tanglers. He came up with the theory of the circular flow of money that is described in his famous book Essays on the Nature of Trade. At that time, the economy was dependent mostly on agriculture. Money flowed from farmers to property owners, to builders and to the woman of the house and out again to create the circular flow.

In the middle of the circular flow, he saw that a particular group used to make things happen. He called them entrepreneurs.

Today, entrepreneurs are creating jobs irrespective of obstacles. Many of them have already failed, got up again and are making profit despite their setback.

Remember that 1,800,000 people still have jobs -- a huge proportion in the SME sector.

No longer is a job a certainty for life. A lifetime in one job stifles people's creativity. Jobs should be adaptable to markets -- not vice versa. As this economy slowly builds up again, entrepreneurs will create more jobs. This economy will be back on track in a few years, and in less than 30 years, regardless of the application of the thoughts of Keynes or Friedman or Krugman, we will have another bubble and another crash. That's nature.

One of the effects of recession is that people are forced to become resourceful. There is now an avalanche of ideas about new products and services for a global market.

This is great. Ireland is at last becoming a nation of entrepreneurs, similar to the entrepreneurs that Cantillon, the real founder of modern economics, discovered about in his time.

Ireland has woken up to the fact that it is entrepreneurs who create jobs.

It is they, and not governments, who create business and jobs and provide the money that creates wages and salaries and quality of life. We have also become aware that we are better equipped than in many other parts of the world to turn an idea into reality.

There is a lot of mythology in the minds of people and of politicians. One of the myths is that there must be a readymade market for a service. We are now in a global community and my contention is this: first do general market research, find out roughly the opportunities and then get started. Don't delay. A website, an email, a mobile phone and cheap flights bring many markets closer, faster even than 10 years ago. The market will fit around your product or service as you develop it.

Contrary to what many economists are saying, we are now three years into an economic cycle that has lasted longer than others. But it's still an economic cycle just like the natural cycle of the growth; of living and dying like trees and plants.

Never mind the IMF, the EU and the ECB. Leave that to the politicians, who will eventually have to listen to the markets.

We should now be getting ready for the beginning of the upward curve. One of the ways to do this is to get busy seeing what opportunities are ahead without suffering paralysis by analysis and just going and doing it.

If you are willing to pay the price again and again, you can do it. Use every possible facility, such as county enterprise boards, Enterprise Ireland and other agencies that we taxpayers have paid for.

There is an opportunity cost of staying as you are instead of moving ahead. Ignore the negatives, be prepared to fail and learn and then get up and get going.

So you have a business idea. I suggest that if you don't have a mentor or some experienced business entrepreneur, go along to your county enterprise board. Persevere with them. Positivity, persistence and patience are three necessary Ps of business.

There is more of a market in other countries than there is here. Let's go take it.

Blaise Brosnan is managing director of the Management Resource Institute and author of 'JACK -- Business Lessons from Life, Life Lessons from Business'.

Sunday Independent

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