Entrepreneurs Matter

Becoming an entrepreneur and starting a business completely changed my life. At first, it was a quest for independence and freedom … to move away from working for someone else, to take the risk, to see if I could do it on my own. But the reasons I continued ran much deeper … reasons that motivate so many business owners each and every day … reasons I respect so very, very much.

Today, in a world where many students are taught that business and capitalism are fundamentally based on the pursuit of greed, selfishness, exploitation and profit maximization … there is a need to re-introduce and re-romanticize today’s entrepreneur … the lifeblood of our communities and our economies.

Entrepreneurs start things. They try things. They see the world as a system full of gaps, of opportunities, and they set out to solve those problems by envisioning something better. They set out on a wonderful journey of purpose, adventure, risk and creativity … not to maximize profits and greed … but to see if what they imagined is, in fact, possible.

That is what fuels the hearts of entrepreneurs.

They envision new ways to deliver groceries and advanced drill bits to work in extreme climates. They suggest better ways for dentists to serve the poor and they improve the ways 3rd world countries filtrate drinking water. They imagine new video games for disinterested teens and they design new vaccines for impoverished children. They also start shoe stores and daycares and construction companies and cafes and corner stores.

Entrepreneurs Matter.

Entrepreneurs not only solve some of our most difficult challenges, but they also sign the paychecks that feed, clothe and shelter 78% of our local families. They not only represent the largest contributors to charities and non-profits, but their pursuit of free enterprise innovation and social cooperation has also led to unprecedented prosperity for humanity.

Over the past two centuries, free enterprise entrepreneurs have brought extraordinary economic growth and prosperity to hundreds of millions of people around the world. Extreme poverty has declined from 85% of the world’s population to 16%. The undernourished population has declined by 50%. Average income per capita has increased 1000x, with only 5% of that population living in North America. Sanitation, medicine and agricultural productivity have progressed to maintain a world population that has grown from 1 billion to 7 billion. 84% of the world can now read. And average life expectancy has increased from 36 years to an astonishing 86 years.

Our world is far from perfect … we have much more to improve … but we also need to appreciate the progress that has been made.

Governments didn’t accomplish these feats … entrepreneurs did. They innovated. They experimented. They took risks. They tried new things. And guess what? When their solutions worked and people derived value, their businesses grew and became profitable … which allowed them to invest in more ideas, create a broader vision, pay more taxes and extend their solutions to new markets.

That’s what changes our world. That’s what improves our communities.

That’s what matters.

So, as we move forward and continue progress on environmental, inequality, health care, animal welfare, and other global challenges …. let’s let entrepreneurs continue to be the lifeblood of innovation, our communities and our economy …. and let’s not turn them into the lifeblood of government.

E-Town Edmonton

What would you ask one of the world’s most interesting people? That’s my task this week as Chris Hadfield, Guy Kawasaki, Hilary Mason, Tiffany Schlain, Bruce Croxon and David Usher all come to share their experiences with the attendees at E-Town (www.e-town.ca).

I started by taking some time to look back at the themes of this blog, and realized that they collectively make up the very themes that will be explored on Thursday (pm) and Friday (all day) this week. Themes like … Becoming Remarkable, Building [IT] Here, Entrepreneurial Thinking, Civic Branding, Festival Creation, Post Secondary Excellence, Powerful Women, Innovation, Commercialization, Competitiveness and the fact that our Capital Region Rocks … are not only what our city needs to be talking about, but they’re also the themes and ideas that need to be baked into the missions of our individual organizations.

How can you teach courage?
What do you feel least prepared for?
What differentiates those that succeed from those that fail?
How can a simple idea become a movement?
What’s coming next and how do we prepare ourselves?

Members of Edmonton’s entrepreneurial community have come together to create E-Town with the goal of stimulating the entrepreneurial discussion of “What’s Next?” and “How do we Capitalize on What’s Next?” We created this conference/festival specifically for those that want to be remarkable, and those willing to lead the charge in their own unique ways. It’s perfect for entrepreneurs, but it is even more perfect for aspiring entrepreneurs and those teams of people within organizations who embrace the mindset of “we gotta change.”

Thursday night we start with one of the great Canadians … Commander Chris Hadfield … and after his keynote he’s asked to stay around and jam with The Barenaked Ladies. How superfantastic is that? Then, Friday is an intense learning and networking experience …. continuously challenging you to think differently and act courageously. It’ll be a great show, with an abundance of energy.

Please don’t miss it. We designed it for you!! Registration will close quickly, so do so now as we are trying to finalize our numbers for the food trucks (Yum!).

See you there.