Patriotic entrepreneurship key to development

30 Dec, 2022 - 00:12 0 Views
Patriotic entrepreneurship  key to development

eBusiness Weekly

By Dr Charles Dahwa

In my previous article (Part 1), I introduced the concepts of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship and went on to state that in all my articles, the term entrepreneurship shall retain a broad meaning which encompasses risk taking, creativity, innovation and growth in both SMEs and large enterprises.

I also submitted evidence that globally, patriotic entrepreneurship is largely omitted in entrepreneurship textbooks, academic articles, private and business sector discussions.

The norm is to closely associate the term ‘patriotism’ with ‘politics’; hence, the resultant argument, don’t mix business with politics.

Yet business is inseparable from politics; thus, in doing business we should indeed consider how we can leverage on our patriotism to competitively and sustainably develop our national economy as Zimbabweans.

Patriotism is characterised by very strong affinity, passion and positive perceptions about one’s country. Driven by patriotism, individuals not only wish their countries’ well but do everything they can to contribute to socio-economic development of their countries.

In this second instalment I would like to reflect on patriotic business motivation, which is among nine key underpinnings that as Zimbabwean entrepreneurs we should consider to fully exploit patriotic entrepreneurship.

The nine key underpinnings are Patriotic Business Motivation, Patriotic Production, Patriotic People Management, Patriotic Pricing, Patriotic Marketing,

Patriotic Market Behaviour, Patriotic Entrepreneurship Development, Patriotic Knowledge Creation, Patriotic National Narrative and Stakeholder Management.

My argument and submission in the next several instalments of this Episode 1, is that by leveraging on these nine key underpinnings, we as Zimbabwean entrepreneurs can accrue greater benefits not just for our own businesses but for our nation at large. To commence this discourse, I unveil what patriotic business motivation entails.

Patriotic business motivation

All entrepreneurs venture into business driven by one or several factors and in entrepreneurship this is called entrepreneurial motivation.

The predominant understanding is that some individuals are forced to get into business by situations that impact negatively in their lives, for example, losing one’s job, working far away from family, or confronting severe economic hardships. Owing to such negative externalities these individuals are mostly into business out of necessity; hence, they are called necessity entrepreneurs, and this leads to necessity entrepreneurship. Central to necessity entrepreneurship is the dominant need to survive while significant risk taking and creativity to upscale the business is usually constrained.

Consequently, it is not unusual to find most necessity entrepreneurship focusing on undertaking projects to ensure livelihood; hence, very limited employment creation, apart from employing self and or a few family members and or relatives.

Conversely, there are numerous individuals who volunteer into business in pursuit of profitable opportunities. Such individuals are called opportunity entrepreneurs while their entrepreneurship is termed opportunity entrepreneurship.

Notably, opportunity entrepreneurship is characterised by proactive planning about when and how to get into business and numerous opportunity entrepreneurs actually ditch their lucrative pay cheques in favour of starting their own new businesses. Further, opportunity entrepreneurship is known for high risk taking, novel innovations and upscaling of new ventures as well as significant employment creation: Not just recruiting family members and relatives but everybody else that qualifies, including supplementing with casual workers or contract staff, when need arises.

Although entrepreneurs can be broadly categorised into necessity and opportunity entrepreneurs, in general all entrepreneurs are driven by necessity and opportunity factors, but levels of such driving factors vary.

Further, profit making is a major goal that cuts across both necessity and opportunity entrepreneurship. Importantly, as I observed in my PhD research, being in business is just but a means to achieve overarching life goals. This observation is supported in numerous self-identity studies which show that as individuals we periodically evaluate who we are, what we aspire to be, how to be distinct from everyone else including from our siblings and what to do to achieve our desired self-identities.

The implication is that at any given time, there is a gap between our current self-identities and what we strive to be and this ultimately drives us to set what I called in my PhD research aspired life end-goals.

Consequently, it is because of the pursuit of such aspired life end-goals that some individuals end up being entrepreneurs: Getting into business whilst others prefer employment.

Crucially, this reality about self-identity and how it leads to entrepreneurial motivation (reasons for getting into business) in pursuit of dominant aspired life end-goals ropes in the inevitable role of patriotism in entrepreneurship.

My argument and submission is that in as much as self-identity theories provide evidence that as individuals, we interrogate who we are, ought to be, how we can be what we desire to be, and how we can be different from everyone else, in the same vein, Zimbabwean entrepreneurs can in addition raise such questions to interrogate their national identity.

There is a remarkable difference between entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean entrepreneurs; the former of course includes Zimbabwean and non-Zimbabwean individuals doing business in Zimbabwe. In sharp contrast, Zimbabwean entrepreneurs specifically refers to individuals who are born and bred Zimbabweans or citizens of our beloved nation and are in business.

Therefore, in interrogating the above self-identity questions, Zimbabwean entrepreneurs should undoubtedly identify themselves as Zimbabweans and from this, socially construct a sacred meaning of what it means to be a Zimbabwean, and later a Zimbabwean businesswoman or businessman, and ultimately, how they can be distinct not just from their fellow Zimbabwean entrepreneurs but most importantly, distinct from non-Zimbabwean entrepreneurs operating in Zimbabwe.

To achieve this unavoidably calls for patriotism, yet in our entrepreneurship discourse, we have no or very little space for the role of patriotism.

Therefore, I do here by argue and submit that Zimbabwean entrepreneurs whose self-identities are fashioned on the altar of patriotism will not only craft aspired life end-goals that exclusively focus on their personal desires but will in addition incorporate national interests. Consequently, patriotism helps Zimbabwean entrepreneurs to embolden their underpinning ideologies about being in business as Zimbabweans and contribute significantly to our nation’s socio-economic development.

To curtain down this article, I, therefore, ask, what sort of entrepreneurs do we have in our nation?  Do we have predominantly necessity or opportunity entrepreneurs? Further, do we have a significant proportion of patriotic Zimbabwean entrepreneurs or is it that we have entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe who predominantly have very little attachment and significant contribution to our national interests? Obviously, it is in our national interests to have more opportunity entrepreneurs than necessity entrepreneurs and more patriotic Zimbabwean entrepreneurs than just entrepreneurs operating in Zimbabwe.

A noble solution to promote patriotic entrepreneurship, which our government has done and should continue to do, is the teaching of heritage studies in our secondary schools and national strategic studies in our colleges and some of our universities.

Through these Zimbabwean centric studies, we are assured of producing high school learners, college and university graduates who know fully well what it is like to be Zimbabwean and how in doing business, they can draw on their sacrosanct Zimbabwean self-identity. Without our African ‘ubuntu’ philosophy and our very own Zimbabwean specific national ideologies such as the ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’, which our President, His Excellence Dr E. D. Munangagwa birthed, our entrepreneurship will lack in terms of key national interests’ deliverables.

Undoubtedly, a key orientation and mandate for patriotic Zimbabwean entrepreneurs is to draw on the ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’ and on the rest of our national ideologies to do business and use business as means not just to attain profitability but in addition as an important vehicle to protect the gains of our national liberation as well as to help in the expeditious achievement of our national strategic vision vis-à-vis Zimbabwe a middle-income economy by the year 2030.

Incorporating patriotic entrepreneurship in this manner is vital considering the fact that while all former colonised countries have long obtained their political independence, economic independence continues to be evasive.

Making things worse is the prevalence of neocolonial strategies not only to undermine the full economic independence of former colonized countries but orchestrate regime change in such countries.

Succinctly, capturing this scenario is none other than the outgoing secretary service commissions, Ambassador Andrew Wutawunashe who in the Sunday Mail dated 8 November 2022 recently remarked, “We must reject invitations to self-loathing with which adversarial elements incessantly bombard countries that liberated themselves”.

Also, if we flashback to 9 October 2019, in a Herald article entitled ‘Our new trajectory needs paradigm shift’, we find Obert Chaurura Gutu remarking “There is a vicious and powerful under – current of resistance and retrogression…pulling in the opposite direction at every turn”.

Obert was commenting on how the economic revival efforts of our country’s Second Republic and New Dispensation were being thwarted left, right and centre.

All this attest the fact that full economic independence is never going to be an easy walk in the park and that without patriotic entrepreneurship, attaining such full economic independence risk being a pipe dream. Therefore, in conclusion, it is very clear that notwithstanding the circumvention of the role of patriotism in the entrepreneurship discourse globally, patriotism is actually a key driver for effective and successful national entrepreneurship. To be continued…


Dr Charlie provides cutting edge consultancy in Research, Strategy, Entrepreneurship and SME Development, Marketing, HRM and Corporate Governance. He recently graduated with a PhD in Management from Manchester Metropolitan University, (UK) and is contactable on Email: [email protected]  Mobile: +263 71 370 2933


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