A critical lack of entrepreneurship
Lions are the kings of the jungle. They could be at the top of the food chain in Africa because they live in groups. However, it is not easy for a lion to build a kingdom. In a pride of lions, the young male has to leave when it grows up. The pride already has a male leader. When a male lion leaves the pride and wanders around, he experiences a series of challenges and ordeals. Hunting attempts may fail, and he is driven away for invading other prides’ territories. The mane is intimidating in fight, but it is cumbersome when hunting. Having a mane slows him down and exposes him to prey. In a pride of lions, the lionesses are mostly in charge of hunting.
A wanderer has to make a choice between two options. The first is to work together with other wandering males and oust a leader from a nearby pride. If lucky, a male lion could meet a group of lionesses and cubs and become a leader. Even when the lion prepares the foundations for a kingdom, he has to constantly defend his pride from the challenges of other wandering males and establish a system of division of work. A male defends the kingdom and females take the roles of ambush, attack and seize. When the process works, a lion can have his kingdom.
A lion’s kingdom is like starting a venture company. The start-ups establish kingdoms armed with entrepreneurship and through well-planned division of roles. The passion for success inspires creativity and innovation. If the entrepreneurship is missing in a country, its economy is in a vegetative state. Experts analyze that developing countries are led by efficiency, but entering the ranks of developed countries takes entrepreneurship.
According to a report by the Korea International Trade Association, only 6.1 percent of Korean college students want to start their own businesses, far lower than 40.8 percent in China. One-third of the students who consider creating start-ups say difficulty getting a job was the reason.
A survey by Hyundai Research Institute is gloomier. A survey on 818 Koreans in their 20s and over shows that they would oppose their children starting their own businesses. Among the people who are considering starting their own business, 87 percent say they would do it on their own.
Building an empire alone is not easy. Entrepreneurship is more effective through collaboration. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs attained their visions by working with partners. Steve Jobs adhered to his unique management style. “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts.
“That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
Without the entrepreneurship through collaboration, there will be no future for Korean economy.
The author is the business and industry news editor of the Korea JoongAng Daily.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 21, Page 30
by KIM CHANG-GYU