Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Land of Entrepreneurs

I have noticed an interesting thing about Jordan. Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. They teach classes about it to students at University. When I heard this I was, frankly, appalled. Don't get me wrong, entrepreneurship is a fine thing. It makes the world go around. But, in the US, people typically go work for someone for a number of years, gain a knowledge of business, then go out and start their own company. In short, they know something about being an employee before they become an employer. In fact, most people work at some point for a big company before hanging out their shingle. In Jordan, not so.

Everyone wants to own their own business. Kids out of college talk about starting their company. And, let me tell you they haven't the first clue about being an employee. They definitely don't have any idea how to manage or treat others as an employer. You see companies that put up video cameras to make sure their employees are working enough (do they have them in the bathrooms?). They disable all access to the internet, legitimate or not. They treat people like slaves rather than valued workers who voluntarily get up every morning and come in to work. Somehow, this professional immaturity manifests itself in poor management, poor leadership, and poor "humanship". So, I'm making a new call. Let's stop teaching entrepreneurship in Jordan and start teaching professionalism courses. Let's teach people first how to work FOR others and then we can worry about teaching others to work for them!

Happy Employment!


At 2:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree.Being an employee teaches discipline and committment.It amazes me too how the young generation are all anxious to start their own businesses.In a way,I am impressed with the confidence they have,on the other I am shocked by how naive they are.However,small businesses have had a great impact on a lot of peoples lives,and this might be more feasible in rural areas,where employment is hard at find,and local communities can benefit from the opening of a small tailor shop or dairy product place.So,maybe the key is to to know where to be offering these entrepreneur courses and to whom exactly.

At 4:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other side of the argument is. First as far as I’ve been taught entrepreneurship its a trait like leadership where some authors argues born as leader. The discission over here ppl should have some experience before starting there own business I agree to some point but in the other side the early the start the business the more experience gained which allow them to develop more successful business. adding to this in Jordan the economy build on family business the nature outcome from the business owners sons to hold this business so the earliest entrepreneur thinking methodolgy gained the better off for ur family business. Here in UK gov. begging ppl to start there own businesses because it holds the middle class segment of the society in Jordan I think it holds all the society. last thing to say the lack of incentive given to young professionals for pursuing career let them think to start there own or go some where else e.g. Earnest and Young gives 250-300 JD pcm for fresh graduates.
As conclusion
SME's in Jordan segments and saves the economy and society classes. In order to do that Entrepreneurship must have high awareness.
Family business in Jordan around 70-90% of over all business therefore the awareness is there since there childhood.
the lack of large firm incentives keep the option of starting business live and strongly recommended by the environment around you.
I agree about ur observation but still thats the culture and i think this the bases of the economy so we should encourge it.
however, regarding poor leadership etc. that reflects on the performance of the business mainly future growth and to be honest most of business owner don’t have a long-term vision and that’s why there are many organizations like Young Entrepreneurs Association and I also started one called YBG to support youngsters to find both career and starting business by making sure the are qualified enough knowledge wise and traits (i.e. leadership, network, education, etc.)


At 9:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that most of the Jordanians that you speak about in your post are aspiring to become self proprietor and not entrepreneurs. If you look at the recently released report by the department of statistics on their web page www.dos.gov.jo under the heading of occupation, you will notice that 17.9% of the population are involved in one kind or another of self proprietorship. The figure obviously represent a significant number of the population if compared to other professions such as health care, education, civil service....etc. So there is a world of difference between one wanting to be self proprietor [ i.e. owner or manager of business or institution] and someone that wants to become entrepreneur [ i.e. a person who assumes the risk for business venture] Most Jordanians fall under the former not the latter.
hatem abunimeh

At 9:35 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Salam, interesting and valid point, knowing where to offer these courses is key. Clearly in rural arwas, there is less likely to be other opportunity.

Ghaith, I appreciate the viewpoint and am aware that there really is a lacking segment of the market in large companies at which to train. However, clearly training is needed to cure these ills of poor leadership and management.

Hatem, that's a very interesting distinction. Although, I suppose I tend to think that anytime you start a business you are assuming the risk for the business venture. That could also be an Americanized way of thinking :).

Thanks all for your thought provoking comments.


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