Business experts and practitioners alike have come up with different definitions for the word entrepreneurship, but for the sake of this study, a few qualify, especially those that seem to be having the same meaning but only different in wording. Both experts and practitioners seem to be in consensus that entrepreneurship is an activity that involves the realization, evaluations and exploitation of economic opportunities in a bid to realize or avail goods and services for the people by penetrating new markets and developing new business ideas that were not previously in existence .Others believe that entrepreneurship involves bringing together ideas and converting them to form end products that benefit people. On the same note, innovation goes hand-in-hand with entrepreneurship because each one is important to the other. Although entrepreneurship and innovation forms the backbone of many economies throughout the world, there are many obstacles that hinder upcoming as well as established entrepreneurs and innovators from achieving their objectives. Nonetheless, there are solutions to these challenges as highlighted in this paper.
Entrepreneurship in the United States
Austin (78) contends that over the past few years there has been a re-evaluation of the whole concept of entrepreneurship and what it takes to become good entrepreneur. Authorities and governments all over the world have recognized the need and the importance of nurturing entrepreneurs. Many governments across the world have come to discover the vital role entrepreneurs play in the political, economic and social welfare of their fellow countrymen and the nation as whole. In the United States for instance, business enterprises are the main drivers of the economy. Therefore, the U.S. government has come up with various policies that are meant to ensure that entrepreneurs remain innovative and competitive in their areas of expertise. It is apparent that entrepreneurial minds are required in building stable and sustainable economies. This can be explained in so many ways. For instance, entrepreneurship creates job opportunities, enhances personal independence and makes country’s currency stronger. A number of things do contribute to increasing entrepreneurial activities in a country and in the developing of an entrepreneurial economy. The U.S. government is so determined to promote enterprises, especially those activities which aim at achieving economic goals and those that also aim at increasing the productivity of the country as an economic block (Austin 89). As stated earlier in this paper, many governments try to promote entrepreneurship ventures, but individual entrepreneurs find it hard to cope with the challenges that come with it. Some of these barriers are discussed below.
The Importance of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Entrepreneurship and innovation are important entities in the growth of global as well as national economies. As a result of the changing economic scenario, entrepreneurship and innovation have gained greater significance in many countries all over the world. Global economy in general and the United States’ economy in particular are poised to experience an accelerated growth because of entrepreneurship. It is imperative to understand that entrepreneurship does not have to involve anything new from a national or even a global perspective, but instead to adopt new forms of technologies, new forms of business organizations and the production of new goods and services that were not previously available to consumers (Wolcott 455).
Moreover, entrepreneurship and innovations are important because they serve as prime movers of development. In fact, many regions, countries, and communities that actively promote entrepreneurship and innovation among its populace do experience much higher growth rates; and consequently strong economies that regions and countries whose culture, politics and institutions hinder entrepreneurship. It goes without saying that an entrepreneurial driven economy, whether regional, communal, or national level differ from a non-entrepreneurial driven economy in many ways (Audretcsch, Keilbach and Lehmann 78). This difference is not only seen in the economic vigorousness and economic structure, but also in the quality of life and social vitality of the people. Once an entrepreneurial venture becomes successful, new firms are likely to come up. These firms that emanate from entrepreneurship and innovation provide job opportunities for many people within a community or even the entire nation.
Another significance of entrepreneurship and innovations culminates from the capability of small entrepreneurship firms to support or give a magical touch to bigger organization, whether in the private, public or joint sector. Brinckerhoff (98) reveals that a majority of significant innovations emanate from smaller innovative firms that are being run by upcoming and inexperienced entrepreneurs. For instance, digital cameras, DVD machines and many other innovations do not exist only because of established firms like Kodak and Sony, but also because small firms help them with these developments. This can be attributed the fact that entrepreneurs enhance the competitiveness of these organizations by being innovative year-in-year-out. Audretcsch, Keilbach and Lehmann (67) contend that as a result of the innovative ideas of entrepreneurs, these organizations are able to maintain flexibility, speed, strong sense of determination and innovativeness.
Barriers to Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Competition and market dynamism
One of the biggest and trickiest challenge for entrepreneurs is the ongoing changes in technology and stiff competition from well established firms. When an entrepreneur comes up with a novel innovation or product that they intend to sell to new markets, most of them lack information about other far flung markets (Brinckerhoff 56). A good example of this is seen when a film industry named Viacom was coming up and attempted to make it internationally. This was an entertainment company whose target audience includes television, film, radio, digital media and a wide range of other activities. Although the upcoming entrepreneurs had unique products and innovation, they failed to carte a niche in the international market because they had ventured into unknown waters. Moreover, their industry of choice is ever changing thus; their new product became obsolete fast.
Inadequate Capital and Advancements in Technology
Another barrier that is closely related to this is the fact that entrepreneurship ventures in some fields, for instance the entertainment industry requires a huge amount of capital to start up a small business and remain competitive in the overcrowded market. Companies within this industry must be innovative to be able to prosper with the rapid pace in which media and entertainment changes and a company must possess the wherewithal and the monetary capability to remain competitive (Porras 2005). Embracing technology and incorporating complex trends in ones innovation is another obstacle to entrepreneurial growth. Most people’s lifestyles today are driven by technological savvy innovations and if one is interested in coming up with an innovation or any other kind of entrepreneurial idea, they have to ensure that their innovations are compatible with existing technologies. This requires an entrepreneur to be on the look-out all the time, and this is time consuming and expensive, especially to upcoming entrepreneurs.
Most innovations lack longevity and that is another serious barrier. Thompson, Kiefer and York (67) posit that entrepreneurs have a challenge of coming up with concepts and innovations that can last longer in the market. Most young entrepreneurs create new innovations but unfortunately they lose relevance or are overtaken with time in as far as their applicability is concerned. A good technology is that which can stand the test of time and can still be used decades after its invention. Longevity does help a business person a great deal. It goes without saying that when it comes to customer loyalty, an invention that has along shelve life is more likely to be liked and sell more than that which has limited shelve life. Indeed, even the much talked about economic growth that is experienced by older companies depends on the support of content owners, who risk losing potential new market share if left behind due to inaction and lack of strategy in securing the new viewing audience. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs do not have the means or strategies of ensuring that their product stays in the market for longer periods of time.
Understanding the Consumer Base
Failure to understand and know the needs of potential and existing clients is another obstacle that affects entrepreneurship. Thompson, Kiefer and York (45) assert that for an entrepreneur or company to grow and become international it has to be different by coming up with technologies and ideas that the customers yearn for. Apple and its founder, the late Steve Jobs are a good example of a company and an entrepreneur who understand the needs of the customers. For many years, this company has been at the helm of phone and computer technology industry because of its unique and up-to-date products. Some time back, Apple had a relatively strong market share in bigger organizations and companies. For instance in the 1970's the very first spreadsheet data program called VisiCalc was launched and came together with the Apple II.
Societal trends indicate a rapid shift toward internet capable media devices with viewership up by almost 96 percent since 2010 (Brinckerhoff 55).For any entrepreneur attempting to come up with an innovation, one of the targets he or she should never miss is the social media because this is where most youthful as well as older people can be found and exploited. Unfortunately managing to incorporate that in new business ventures is the biggest problem and many entrepreneurs find it such a big barrier. Most entrepreneurs have a problem with ensuring that their message regarding an innovation gets to the intended target group. It is believed that any entrepreneur who intends attempts his or her hand on innovations to content providers must stay abreast of societal demands whether for internet or the others. The popularity of social network sites like Facebook and twitter, which claims five hundred million users, should serve as a platform on which upcoming as well as seasoned entrepreneurs showcase their innovation.
Personality characteristics of an entrepreneur are formed basically by the interplay between him and his environment. Some entrepreneurs have been very hard working but unfortunately their personal attribute seem not to tick and work for them but against them. If it is an organization or a company, the personal attributes of the top level officials will greatly determine whether the company will grow or not (Austin 2004). There are some upcoming entrepreneurs who exhibit good attributes that enable them to grow and develop at an appalling rate as compare to those entrepreneurs whose characteristics are wanting. A good example here is Steve jobs of Apple. In this case Jobs, his sheer determination and the vast experience that he gained during the course of his successful entrepreneurial tenure played a big role in the success of Apple. Some theories on entrepreneurship that can be used to describe Jobs’ success and should be embraced by upcoming entrepreneurs include the McClelland’s theory of desire to achieve and succeed. According to this theory, someone who has the desire to realize business success should always be ready to tackle and solve problems by himself and have achievable targets. In Mr. Jobs’ case, he was always keen with his competition, and handling competition is one of his strongest points that other entrepreneurs should imitate. It is claimed that at some point, advanced corporations such as Google several accused Jobs and his firm of using its popularity and clout to fight their technologies in the market. This is the utter truth because Job was able to use his strongest attributes to outdo his competitors. It is apparent that inexperience and questionable personal traits are the main undoing for many entrepreneurs.
This paper has explored quite a number concept that relate to entrepreneurship and innovation. Reflective practice is a vital tool when it comes to aspects like the professional learning of the practice that one intends to engage in. There many individuals who come up with entrepreneurial ideas that can be helpful in both the economic and the social sectors. Nonetheless, reflective practice is necessary because people get to learn from their personal professional experiences and not from formal ways of learning or even from concepts like knowledge transfer (Barker 78). This is arguably one of the most important methods or source of personal learning or professional development which helps one to improve. This is a concept that many professional have embraced, particularly for the sake of professional development. The concept of practitioners learning from their experience has a lot of relevance. This may at times depend on the individual’s personality or willingness to learn.
Experts are of the opinion that the government holds the solution to most of the above challenges. First of all, the government should take the initiative of sensitizing upcoming and potential entrepreneurs with innovative ideas about the importance of entrepreneurship. This will solve the challenge of competition and market dynamism because sensitization will enable entrepreneurs to understand the dynamics of the market, hence develop plans of dealing with competitors (Barker 102). On the same note, the government should ease the access of business information right from the grassroots. This information should cover the various realms of entrepreneurship and innovation such as markets, financial services, suppliers of raw materials, taxes, labor, registration and licensing and quality requirements. This will help entrepreneurs understand their probable consumers and address the challenge of social forces.
() believes that the government has a role to play in supporting upcoming entrepreneurs. This support should not be biased or selective but should be directed to all types of business support service. Through financial and material support, the government would have addressed the challenge of capital inadequacy and advancements in technology. Additionally, the government should provide basic utility services.
On their part individual entrepreneurs should make the initiative of addressing the challenges that culminate from them. For example, they should improve on the personal attributes that might prevent them from achieving their objectives. Some of the attributes that must be honed by entrepreneurs include; commitment, respect, hard work, dedication, and quest for knowledge (Rojas, Morales and Ramirez 90). Those who take these attributes for granted are doomed for failure eventually. Apart from honing the above attributes, entrepreneurs should ensure that their innovations and ideas meet the standards of the day. This ensure that their products have a long shelf life, hence longevity.
Summary and Recommendations
There are several issues that have been highlighted in the above discussion. First of all, it has been established that entrepreneurship and innovation form the foundation of most world economies. This means that without these two vital entities, most economies would be impotent. The discussion has also revealed that entrepreneurship is not only a driver for national and global economies but also for community and regional economies. This discussion has made it clear that the inability to raise equity capital is a major challenge to most entrepreneurial ventures. Some innovations and entrepreneurial ventures require huge capital to start, and as a result, the dreams and innovative ideas of upcoming entrepreneurs are killed along the way (Wolcott 45). Although the government and like minded organizations might be willing to fund such ventures, another challenge comes up. This challenge is the inability of young and upcoming entrepreneurs to secure or borrow funds because of the high interest rates involved. Assuming that the entrepreneur has secured the capital and is ready to create his or her innovation, another challenge comes up. This problem culminates from the difficulties in availing and getting the required raw materials. Furthermore, when the entrepreneur has secured the capital, gotten the raw material and developed his or her innovation, the market poses another challenge. Skandalaris and Harrington contend that many entrepreneurs face stiff competition from established firms.
On the other hand, this paper has revealed that there is an upsurge of women entrepreneurs, not only in America, but all over the world. It has been established that that more and more women are becoming shrewd entrepreneurs, especially in manufacturing, retail trade, hotels, cleaning, education, and insurance (Skandalaris and Harrington 123traditionally, it was though that entrepreneurship was an individual thing, but this research enabled me to understand that entrepreneurship can be pursued both as an individual as well as a group. The role of intermediaries in promoting entrepreneurship, especially, the ease of access to finance or capital, and the probability of an idea of the originator being stolen or appropriated by another party has also been highlighted.
It has been established that all hope is not lost because there are various solutions to the many challenges that impact entrepreneurship and innovation. It is clear that the government has a huge role to play in regard to providing solutions to these challenges. This can be attributed to the fact that the government has the resources that can address the discussed challenges at its disposal (Porras and Collins 56). Therefore, all it has to do is disburse and distribute these resources to those who need them most. Individual entrepreneurs and innovators have also been put to task to look at their priorities and character so that they can become successive entrepreneurs.
It is evident that before one engages in any form business, it is always wise to looks at the various factors that may affect his or her operations in the field, in this case entrepreneurship and innovation. . This has highlighted some of the most common barriers to entrepreneurship and innovation, market dynamism and related aspects like competition, in ability to embrace technology and many others. It is always recommended that whenever an individual is interested in starting any form of entrepreneurship, they must be very cautious and critically analyze the factors that may affect the business in order to be in position to handle them just incase they arise while they are in operation. The barriers that hinder entrepreneurship and innovation have to be studies and ways of overcoming them too. This may greatly help when it comes to strategizing on how to get an entry point and eventually make it big in entrepreneurship, after all entrepreneurship and innovation run the globe.