Economic managers across the world are planning development policies to encourage entrepreneurship. The emphasis in Europe is particularly overwhelming and has resulted in fierce competition to outdo each other in entrepreneurship programmes offered at universities.
The recently concluded third annual conference of the World Entrepreneurship Forum (WEF) had its moments of theatre, drama and surprises and produced an imposing list of deliverables, as listed by its President Patrick Molle.
So much was achieved at this session that it seems the world had just been waiting for the opportunity. But when Molle was assembling his team and spoke about what he hoped to accomplish, very few believed in his dream.
This year he presented the challenge of “Shaping the World of 2050 as an Entrepreneurial Community” to the WEF members in particular and the world community at large.
EMLYON Business School, together with a number of other sponsors, has established a think tank on entrepreneurship, now known as the World Entrepreneurship Forum (WEF).
The initiative was supported by Babson Business School in the US and KPMG, a world leader in consultancy. Recently, they have been joined by another sponsor member: Nanyang University of Singapore.
Within the short span of three years it has come up with bold initiatives, such as the launch of the Global Entrepreneurship Development Index (GEDI) to determine which countries are the friendliest and enabling for the development of entrepreneurship.
According to this index the top five countries in the world are Denmark, Canada, USA, Sweden, and New Zealand – in order of ranking.
It has also introduced a psychometric process of evaluating human capital in entrepreneurial ventures and the entrepreneurship acumen of an individual. Both these developments are ground breaking in the field of entrepreneurship.
Having established the role and mission of the forum at the first meeting in 2008, the purpose of the second meeting was to move from the theoretical to the practical and establish a number of key steps that could be taken to foster global entrepreneurship.
The theme adopted then was: “What can governments do to support the development of entrepreneurship?” Finding practical answers to this question has never been more important and bringing their collective weight to bear in effective lobbying.
One of the key roles of the WEF is to fill this gap and bring together a group of respected practitioners as the international ‘voice of entrepreneurship’.
At the heart of the forum lies one common conviction: the entrepreneur is a creator of wealth and social justice. As such, the WEF aims at disseminating the entrepreneurial spirit and proposes a set of actions to be jointly advocated by its members in the shape of its charter.
Another feature of the Forum is to award Entrepreneur of the Year award. The awards are granted annually to an entrepreneur, a social entrepreneur, an academic, and a politician in recognition of their remarkable entrepreneurial success and their commitment to the society.
Pakistan, represented by Syed Babar Ali and the author, received attention for its proposals and for championing the cause of entrepreneurship. It also offered to host a Junior Forum in the year 2011 to give boost to entrepreneurship orientation in Pakistan. One of the prospects that Pakistan would like to take advantage off would be to start an Entrepreneurship Development Institute under the support and guidance of EMLYON Business School. This will be the first such institute in Pakistan.
The author is currently Senior Fellow in Entrepreneurship at Lahore School of Economics.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2010.