It’s an indisputable fact that small and medium enterprises contribute in excess of 70 percent of most of African economic activities and as such a drive from the SMEs is exerting pressure on established organisations. Corporates with tender feet found themselves either winding up or relocating to other countries thinking they could find solace. SME activities are rather on a continuous increase now than ever before in the history of business that large corporates need to re-strategise and reorder themselves in order to establish a strong footing. Among all the strategies that these corporates should consider, corporate entrepreneurship stands taller than others. The issue of corporate entrepreneurship is not new in business parlance but others have chosen to ignore it though at their own peril. This is a process by which teams within an established organisation are given the latitude to explore and experiment along fostering, conceiving, launching and managing new businesses that are distinct from that of the parent company but raiding on the current company’s goodwill, resources capabilities and market position. A number of chief executive officers are too risk averse to give their employees the prerogative to think out of the current operations and innovate around the available resources in a unique way in response to the
demands and dictates of the market. In as much as there is greater risk in starting a new business, entrepreneurs by nature understand that no risk, no return. They are, though, a type that takes calculated risk.
Allowing and supporting corporate entrepreneurship without the approval of the shareholders might also cost the chief executive officer since there are uncertainties that come with trying new businesses. It has always proved that those that allow for corporate entrepreneurship stands a better chance of growth and survival than those that keeps it low and the same for fear of failure. The changing business environment calls for market disruptors to remain relevant and competitive. It is important to support employees within your business set up to think and act as entrepreneurs. You need to identify those with the right vision, passion and skills, support them as they identify opportunities and develop their ideas in a unique and innovative way to bring about new products and services within your existing business.
Why corporate entrepreneurship?
Innovation forms the pith of any thriving organisation without which there is no survival to talk about. Most of these established organisations struggle to successfully innovate due to their inhibiting organisational culture, structure and bureaucracy. Corporate entrepreneurship promotes innovation while at the same time bringing in huge benefits to the organisation.
In the words of Peter Drucker, the success and ultimately survival of every business, large or small, depends in the last analysis on its ability to develop people. This ability is not measured by any of our conventional yardsticks of economic success; yet, is the final measurement. Organisations can only develop their people by giving them the leeway to explore and experiment in an uncompromised manner. Corporates should have a clear strategy and policy that allows for such innovation within its employees with due understanding that not every exploration pays back but care must be taken in doing so as the main aim is to make the organisation pull and push forward.
Dairibord Zimbabwe is one company that is known for surviving most of the economic wows the country has gone through and chief among the strategies that necessitated its survival is corporate entrepreneurship. The organisation is known for the production of bottled sterilised milk and this literally means there are structures processes and systems that supports the packaging of bottled products. The company introduced a new line of product that has taken the market by a storm, their pfuko maheu, especially the
buttermilk flavour. Corporate entrepreneurship is a deliberate move that the chief executive officers of organisations should support.
Mr Anthony Mandiwanza, the Dairibord chief executive officer is famed for supporting research, innovation, blue sky thinking and development within his organisation.
Conformity has always downplayed most businesses as it impacts negatively on innovation and growth prospects. Even the holy bible in Romans chapter 12 verse 2 challenges people not to conform to the patterns of this world but to be transformed by the renewal of their minds. Most organisations conforms to the dictates of the market and at the end tend to follow even mediocre performers in the name of playing it safe.
Corporate entrepreneurship challenges mental and physical idleness. Growth, even in humans are a sign of life. But for a person to grow biologically, they should be subjected to a balanced diet. The same applies to your business; you need to continuously nourish it with new strategies, new ways of thinking and to a greater extent allowing innovation to take precedence as it is central to uniqueness and business growth.
Never confuse activity and busyness with productivity. You can be very busy and yet unproductive. The more you become intentional and deliberate within your organisation on corporate entrepreneurship, the more productive you will become.
Paul J. Meyer says, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence,
intelligent planning, and focused effort.” Effective and true organisational leadership is measured not by the types of cars they drive or their perquisites but by their production levels. Leadership has never been about position but performance. A corporate leader who empowers their employees to innovate around their existing resources and engage in what is called in entrepreneurship bricolage has the capacity to grow the organisation and move it forward. Bricolage theory is mainly focused on explaining how entrepreneurship emerges in economically depressed, or resource poor areas.
The concept of utilising underutilised resources in producing economic goods is central to bricolage. Making something from nothing. An organisation might have existing lines of production which they are using for one particular function and yet they have the capacity to do more.
Corporate entrepreneurship places your organisation in a league of its own. Eagles high up in the sky have less competition and congestion, in fact they enjoy fresh air and some liberty. The same happens when you choose to be different in your approach to business especially when you empower your employees to think and act in ways that promote the production of new products and services other than your ordinary lines.
Competitive advantage simply refers to factors that allow a company to produce goods or services better or more cheaply than its rivals. These factors allow the productive entity to generate more sales or superior margins compared to its market rivals. Competitive advantages are attributed to a variety of factors including cost structure, branding, and the quality of product offerings, the distribution network, intellectual property, and customer service. Entrepreneurship fosters and enhances uniqueness in product offering, distribution channels and even the way you service your customers. Once employees are given the power and freedom to explore, they can surprise you with their levels of innovation which ultimately works for the betterment of the company. Corporate entrepreneurship is an important password into the organisation’s success domain. A good number of tech companies has since been applying this strategy for growth and sustainability.
The beauty of corporate entrepreneurship is that it is universal. It can be implemented in any organisation as it is simply the activation and empowerment of the creative and innovative geniuses that lies within your staff into producing new businesses within your existing organisation using the current resources that you have. Determined to engage, inspire and transform generations in the field of entrepreneurship and business.