The last two decades business practices have corrupted the essence of entrepreneurship. Because of this, we do not know what an entrepreneur is anymore.
Those who kill and plunder to amass ill gotten wealth, for only themselves and their families to enjoy, are projected as lead entrepreneurs. Drugs dealers and fraudsters are hailed by the public print and electronic media as the role model entrepreneurs. Asset grabbers and asset strippers aided by political patronage are projected as entrepreneurs. No wonder the economy has got where it is on its knees.
I content here that an entrepreneur is a progressive thinker, visionary and community builder who creates new productive capacity and brings benefits to society. This thinker has a unique, natural talent to fantasise, imagine, dream about business which is not there, but above it all, has the ability to translate all that into concrete business creating new capacity, jobs and wealth. I know of Zimbos who can discover and promote brilliant musicians, sport persons and actors; media maestros who can inspire national development; the master farmer who can grow enough food for us all; the super minds who can mobilise big to dig the earth, process rocks and create foreign currency for the country; and IT pundits who could make the ways we do things much cheaper and faster.
How does the democratic Zimbabwe support this genuine entrepreneur to ensure rapid reconstruction and development through our attitude or mode of thinking? First of all, Zimbabweans need to accept the global fact that societal growth / innovation, be it cultural, economic or industrial, is driven by the entrepreneur. From this common understanding, we can now explore the environment condusive to a thriving entrepreneurship in a democratic Zimbabwe for the sake of progress.
The days of the know it all / the do it all ought to be days of the past. The Book, in 1 Corinthians 12, advises us that the church is endowed with many different spiritual gifts, from the same spirit, intended to serve that congregation.
Many gifts for the nation
Likewise the community, and indeed the nation, is blessed with many different talents / gifts which have to be expressed to their fullest for the good of the whole nation. The politician must focus on coming up with legislation which promotes democratic practice, maintains peace and encourages robust entrepreneurial activity in the economy. The government, should concentrate on infrastructure development and compliance with legislation by every citizen of Zimbabwe, while the judiciary enforces the rule of law and the entrepreneur grows the economy – each according to his ability and passion, in order to achieve excellence and good life for all. Every talent is needed for the wholesome development of our nation and no one individual has a right to suppress the others in a democratic dispensation.
I argue that the entrepreneur is the fourth estate in a democratic state and this estate needs its democratic space in order to grow the economy for the benefit of the entire nation. Entrepreneurs need to be identified, empowered by the provision of easily accessible technical and financial support services and appreciated in legislative processes because they are a vital tool of our desired advancement as a nation. Therefore, all national institutions, the courts, the banks, the enterprise promotion bodies, must, of necessity, be geared towards the promotion of entrepreneurship within our democratic dispensation.
Public enterprises charged with the duty to empower entrepreneurs must be led in Board Of Directors (BODs) fora by seasoned entrepreneurs. For example, IDCZ, NEDT, IDBZ, cannot successfully execute their mandate when led by BODs suffocated by the politician bureaucratic clubs which are bereft of any essence of business and are used to indirectly milk the fiscus. This, I strongly believe, is the opportunity for successful entrepreneurs to give back to society by facilitating entry and growth of other entrepreneurs. Yes, give entrepreneurs, the fourth estate, the necessary space to grow the economy.
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