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5.4 Conclusion

To be successful in sustainable business practices often requires entrepreneurship and innovation. This chapter provides an overview of entrepreneurship and innovation as it relates to sustainable business. The discussion is most relevant to sustainable businesses focused on offering new products and services in response to societal concerns. The importance of entrepreneurship and innovation also applies to companies that change how they produce products and services. The latter companies can use innovative practices and entrepreneurship to establish their brand name and to be market leaders in doing things that create shared value for society and their companies and also, over time, contribute to changes in practices in their industry.

Key Takeaways

  • To be successful in sustainable business practices often requires entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation are relevant in for-profit and nonprofit ventures.
  • Entrepreneurship can be viewed as recognizing change, pursuing opportunity, taking on risk and responsibility, innovating, making better use of resources, creating new value that is meaningful to customers, and doing it all over again and again.
  • Being an entrepreneur requires taking on significant responsibility and comes with significant challenges and potential rewards.
  • Entrepreneurship is a mind-set, an attitude; it is taking a particular approach to doing things.
  • The motivations for becoming an entrepreneur are diverse and can include the potential for financial reward, the pursuit of personal values and interests, and the interest in social change.
  • For innovation to be relevant for sustainable businesses, it has to be meaningful and affect a large number of stakeholders.
  • Successful entrepreneurship often requires creativity and innovation in addressing a new opportunity or concern in a new way.

Exercises

  1. Interview an entrepreneur in your city or town. Identify why the individual started their business and what has been most important to their success. Then investigate why Mark Zuckerberg became an entrepreneur and founded Facebook. What motivated him to start a new venture? What keeps him motivated to grow Facebook? What do you attribute his success to? Has he been an agent for social change?
  2. Assess your likelihood of becoming an entrepreneur. Were your parents entrepreneurs? Are they presently entrepreneurs? Do you have the mind-set, attitude, and way of thinking of an entrepreneur? If not, could you change to pursue a business interest? What passions or interests do you have that could translate to an entrepreneurial pursuit? Do you readily take on new challenges? Are you a risk taker? Are you interested in making a lot of money? Are you interested in social change?
  3. Identify the role model entrepreneur for you. Is there any entrepreneur that you are familiar with who you think of as a role model or as a model that other entrepreneurs should emulate? Describe the entrepreneur and why you think of them as a role model.
  4. Using the business media, identify a for-profit enterprise that has a strong social mission. Then using a nonprofit media source, identify a nonprofit organization that has strong similarities to a for-profit entrepreneurial venture.
  5. Think of three new types of innovations that are needed to help address ecological and social concerns. Have any ventures been started to commercialize these types of innovations?
  6. Investigate public polices in your state or city (using government websites) that work to promote sustainable business entrepreneurship. And identify new policies that could be established to help support sustainable businesses.