Entrepreneurship is not just about ‘starting a business’. It is about seizing opportunities in the market place, making changes or improvements and creating value. Entrepreneurs look at problems at hand and take them as opportunities (1). By uncovering problems and identifying solutions, that customers would be willing to pay for, entrepreneurs create value (1). If there is any chance of profits, entrepreneurs become willing to bear the risks involved (2). Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming. – Richard Branson.
On the other hand, innovation is slightly more complex. It is a dual process, which is the combination of some sort of invention and the implementation of it (3). Invention is the creation or breakthrough of new knowledge (3). However, more must be done in order to create value. As Thomas Alva Edison stated, innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration (3). By ‘Inspiration’, he means ‘invention’ and by ‘perspiration’ he means ‘implementation’ (3). It is evident that the implementation plays a huge part in innovation because without it, it would be nothing but good ideas that is not transformed into economic value (3). Implementing process is also known as entrepreneurial process. Where entrepreneurs transform the invention into economic value taking into consideration the feasibility and managerial aspects (3). That is the clear relation between entrepreneurship and innovation. Entrepreneurs are innovators.
The development of the post-it note will demonstrate the relationship between entrepreneurship and innovation. Spencer Silver had a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry; he worked at 3M and had developed a new adhesive that was even weaker than what 3M already developed (5). He knew he was on to something but unfortunately no one had any use for glue that did not stick properly (5). Regardless, he did not discard it (5). Arthur Fry was another scientist in 3M and also a singer in his church choir. In order to keep track of his hymns, he tore strips of papers to act as markers. However, It was troublesome, as the strips of papers would slip out of his book easily (4). It then hit him, using Spencer’s weak adhesive glue, the markers can be stuck firmly in its’ place and will not cause any damage to the paper when taken off (4). Engineers told Arthur that there was no such machine to develop this paper and the managers of 3M did not support his idea (4). Despite that, he carried on to build the machine himself and sent the ready-made product to all the managers (4). Fry believed strongly in his invention and the ability of it to make profit. He took the risks involved and was persistent in sharing the newfound discovery. If he did not work to transform the idea into economic value and go through the dual entrepreneurial process, it would have remained merely a brilliant idea. Many great ideas go unexecuted, and many great executioners are without ideas. One without the other is worthless. – Tim Blixseth This proves the importance of ‘perspiration’ after obtaining the ‘inspiration’ and vice versa.
Moving on to economic development and how it relates to entrepreneurship and innovation. Economic development is basically the increase in the standard of living of nation’s population (6). This can be attained by further improvement of the existing businesses, attracting new businesses and motivating the growth of new businesses (7). These are brought about by entrepreneurship and innovation. The more entrepreneurship results into more innovation, ergo more business start-ups, expansion and retention that influence employment and economic growth (7). Economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) focused on the disturbance and change cause by