“Oh, how I wish all God’s people were entrepreneurs!”
A young man asked me once, “when did you first become an entrepreneur?” And was quite surprised by my reply:
“I have been an entrepreneur, for as long as I can remember.”
“Were you an entrepreneur, when you worked for someone else?” He asked.
“Yes, I was. Even when I was employed by someone else, I worked for them, as an entrepreneur.” I explained.
“Is that why you went off to start, your own business?”
“No; not really.”
There was a pause:
“Sir, I don’t understand? I always thought entrepreneurs, start their own businesses?”
“Not necessarily. Some of the best entrepreneurs in history, and even today, do not start their own businesses. Its not necessary.”
Then I added:
“If my employers, at the time, had recognized me as entrepreneur and deployed me, in such a way as to allow me to express myself as an entrepreneur, I would have stayed, and helped them to build a bigger and more successful organization.”
A long pause, as he reflected on my comments:
“Sir, I’m a bit confused? Are you saying that I can be an employee, and an entrepreneur at the same time?”
“Yes, that is what I’m saying to you. It’s best to always function as an entrepreneur in your job. ….successful organizations are those who employ entrepreneurs and deploy them properly.
….you need an entrepreneur to start a company, but you need entrepreneurs, at all levels of a growing company.
There are 100 year old companies, that are developing amazing new products, and re-inventing themselves constantly. They may not call it, using such cool words as “entrepreneur”, but they employ entrepreneurs, to drive change and innovation. Being an entrepreneur, is at its best a way of thinking, and a mindset.”
Then I sighed, and paraphrased Moses, the prophet:
“Oh, how I wish all God’s people were entrepreneurs.”
Entrepreneurs are the most treasured, and most valued employees, in any organization, that wants to be successful:
See it as a way of thinking!
Become an entrepreneur, in your job!
Being an entrepreneur at work does not mean, start a little business on the side. It means apply yourself in your job, as an entrepreneur, and make the organization you work for a great success.
To be continued…
Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa