Many organisations are moving towards a culture that nurtures free thinking sessions to foster innovation where employees are given time to pursue ideas outside of their usual scope of work. Google has a ‘20% policy’, Shutterstock hosts an annual 24 hour ‘hack-a-thon’ and employees at DreamWorks are able to work on movie ideas for a portion of their time within office hours.
As part of our research around skills, education and the world of work, Barloworld Logistics delved into the theme of local entrepreneurship and the opportunities it presents. South Africa has a strong spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation, evidenced by the many small and family owned businesses that form part of our economy. But as many reports have revealed, local entrepreneurs face an uphill battle, with many new businesses failing to survive the first several years. This can be attributed to factors such as the inability to network effectively, lack of funding, governmental red tape, a tough economy or a lack of guidance and mentorship.
In our foresightreport we highlighted the fact that many young entrepreneurs lack the skills, knowledge and training required to ensure their ventures have a fighting chance. This is where we believe SA corporates of all sizes and across sectors can play a more active role. For example, companies can invest resources into creating incubators that nurture entrepreneurial thinking and help people to develop promising ideas and concepts. At Barloworld, we believe in the power and potential of South African entrepreneurs and in 2005, founded Barloworld Siyakhula, an incubation hub that supports the growth and development of SME’s creating opportunities and partnerships that allow entrepreneurial potential to flourish.
In addition to hubs and incubators, business leaders should work to create a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation within their own organisations – so that even employees are entrepreneurs in their own right. Companies such as Google and General Electric have instilled this type of entrepreneurial ethos which has paid dividends for all stakeholders involved.
One of the ideal ways in which to foster innovation is to give employees the time, space and guidance that will enable them to pursue great ideas within the work place, creating new business opportunities and developing smarter processes that lead to positive growth and job creation.
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Trenchard, R., 2006. Virgin Entrepreneur. [Online] | Shezi, L., 2015. Htxt Africa [Online] | Anon, 2014. Youth Village.co.za [Online] Williams, D.K., 2013.