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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Entrepreneurship is alive and well

This year Ernst & Young have published a report on entrepreneurship under the title Nature or nurture?  Decoding the DNA of the entrepreneur.   The key findings of the report are:
  1. Entrepreneurial leaders are made, not born (nurture not nature)
  2. Entrepreneurship is rarely a one-off decision
  3. Funding, people and know-how are the biggest barriers to entrepreneurial success.
  4. Entrepreneurs share core or common traits.
  5. Traditional companies can learn from entrepreneurial leaders.
The full report is available electronically  through the ELIS catalogue at:
The writers of the report have described the DNA of the entrepreneurial leaders in the following diagram:

Diagram entitled The DNA of the entrepreneur model from Ernst & Young 2011 report p.15.

Like many of you I am interested in reading about companies who have begun exporting or who plan to export  in the near future.   I never fail to be impressed by the variety of products and approaches exhibited by New Zealand companies.

So I decided to explore in a non-scientific way how three NZ companies stacked up against the core traits in this model (the keywords in the brown circle on the outside of the model).   My sample of three was limited to articles recently clipped from the DominionPost newspaper describing three NZ companies. They were:
  • Zeezee.com - merino clothing for children
  • Radiola Aerospace - testing and calibrating navigation and landing instruments for aircraft
  • Planet Green - possum skin golf gloves (possums are a furry pest)
The three companies showed the following core entrepreneurial traits: Resilience,Teamwork, Passion, Quality, Customer focus, Flexibility, Vision and Innovation.    The only two missing were Leadership and Integrity.   In a more scientific survey in which management and staff were interviewed and websites combed, these two traits may also have showed up.   In the sample articles the focus was more on the companies rather than on individual leaders.
The EY report concludes on p.24:
     Over the past decade, entrepreneurial leaders have played an increasingly important role in the global  economy.   Their ability to see opportunities in an uncertain environment, take calculated risks and be tenacious in turning ideas into successful ventures are crucial components of both job creation and the global economic recovery.
If our local companies and their leaders continue to match this DNA, we will certainly begin to make headway in our export-lead recovery.

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