Entrepreneurial Opportunities and Resources
Introduction to Entrepreneurship
Many different conditions in society can create entrepreneurial opportunities for new goods and services. Opportunity conditions arise from a variety of sources. At a broad societal level, they are present as the result of forces-such as:
Changes in knowledge and understanding
The development of a new technology
Related to sustainability concerns, certain demographic shifts and pollution challenges create opportunities. For example, with 50 percent of the world’s population, for the first time in history, now living in urban areas, city air quality improvement present opportunities for entrepreneurs.
The entrepreneur must first recognize the opportunity and then innovate by proposing a business solution that provides an attractive alternative to customers. A solution is just the first step in the process, the entrepreneur must also investigate the economic value of and business proposition emanating from that opportunity.
They must research the market to understand how their potential product or service provides value to a customer and whether the amount a customer is willing to pay, which reflects the value of the product or service to the customer, exceeds the costs to provide that value, product, or service to the customer.
In this way, the entrepreneur is contributing to economic growth and society by providing customers with goods and services whose costs to provide are less than their value to consumers.
Scale and Value of an Opportunity
An entrepreneur can come up with a new approach that meets a customer’s need or want, but if not enough customers are willing or able to pay a price above the cost of that product or service, it will not be financially viable.
Therefore the opportunity becomes a true business opportunity when it is of sufficient scale and value-that is, revenues will cover costs and promise to offer net revenue above operating costs after the initial startup investment expenditures are repaid.
While management teams must be recruited relatively quickly, typically there are one or two individuals who initially drive the entrepreneurial process through hard work and determination to succeed.
As the business grows, the business team becomes the key factor. The entrepreneur’s skills, education, and capabilities must be augmented and complemented by the competencies of other team members.
It is essential to have adequate financial resources when starting any new entrepreneurial activity; this is no different for sustainable business activity. Funding can come from a variety of sources including personal savings, credit lines of entrepreneurs, family members, friends, and other sources.
Depending on the type of business, venture capital or other investors may be an option. Typically, a company might acquire investors if there are expectations for high growth in the industry. Clean technology is an industry sector that can potentially attract investors for this reason.
All the previously stated resources in the entrepreneurial process are important, but the single most important factor is the individual entrepreneur-that is their ability to:
Identify a market opportunity and develop a creative response to that opportunity with market potential.
Get a product or service out.
Sell to customers.
Organize an organizational team
Garner the confidence of potential investors.
Entrepreneurs must have passion, drive, excitement, and unique capabilities to do what they do.
Entrepreneurship is not constrained to starting a private for-profit company.
While the definition of entrepreneurship is commonly assumed to be individuals creating new for-profit enterprises and pursuing private benefit, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial innovation can occur in a variety of settings including small or large companies, nonprofits, and government agencies. And entrepreneurship can be focused on a local, national, or global marketplace.
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