How can we pave the way for global entrepreneurial sustainability?

This Blog post is the third in a series of pre-summit blogs, from the GLI cohort attending the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Medellin, Colombia. In these blog posts the students discuss issues which they are likely to interrogate further in their research at the summit.

By Jon Harvey (Management)


How can we pave the way for global entrepreneurial sustainability?

Why aid is not the answer

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. This is the overarching way of thinking that should be employed by all those attempting to elicit global growth in sustainable ways. This pre-summit blog post will sum up my current attitude towards entrepreneurial environments and sustainable global entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is an important subject field because it creates jobs, which provide products and services, and in turn delivers wealth. This is important for economic development policies in developing and/or non-entrepreneurial countries whose environments are not very entrepreneurship-friendly, because these policies should aim to make life easier for entrepreneurs, by providing more access to funding for instance.

For example, Japan is a developed economy that has a very unfavourable entrepreneurial environment, for example in their laws regarding bankruptcy, and this deters potential entrepreneurs. This is also a problem the world over in developing countries.

On the other hand, Medellin, the venue of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2016, now has innovation and entrepreneurship rooted in its DNA. It has implemented several entrepreneurship-friendly policies and education programs, which has allowed it to attain the title of “most innovative city” of the year by Citibank – a far cry from the drug-addled, crime-ridden city it was during the late 20th century.

Medellin is one of several cities leading the way globally with regards to entrepreneurship. However, it does have the resources in place to implement positive policy changes that other cities in less developed countries do not have.

Therefore, doesn’t common sense prevail in that fostering sustainable entrepreneurship in developing countries is far more sustainable than simply giving aid, the resources from which will not be replenished via any other way than receipt of more aid? I believe this is the key to global economic development with regards to entrepreneurship.

Unfortunately, aid has become “an industry with nationalistic self-interests” and a market now exists for organisations to become agents of change to encourage social development, in much the same way as Medellin has improved its own socio-economic status. This has been done through entrepreneurial education and innovation, and gaining support from communities to generate sustainable wealth rather than relying on international charity.

In order to successfully sustainably implement global growth through entrepreneurship, it is important to combine the new-era entrepreneurial goals that will encourage society’s advancement in a sustainable way, and the old philanthropic, compassionate motives that encouraged us to give aid in the first place.

There is, however, still a place for the giving of aid to disadvantaged societies, but I think it should be given in conjunction with entrepreneurial education and the encouragement of self-sufficiency. In my opinion, aid should take the form of start-up capital, in order to give the monetary boost required but also ensuring that cash is utilised to generate more.

It is up to governments and organisations to strike a balance between philanthropy and the encouragement of entrepreneurship to achieve global sustainability. Throughout the GEC, I hope to develop my understanding of sustainable entrepreneurship, utilising examples of what is being done all over the world with regards to policy to encourage the advancement of sustainability in less developed countries.


About Jon:

Originally hailing from Bath, Jon is a Masters student studying Entrepreneurship and Management at Sheffield University. Jon has a particular interest in social entrepreneurship and sustainability, as well as the study of entrepreneurship in the economies of developing countries.




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