IPMA International Project Management Association
11 August 2015 / 6:46

Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of economic growth

A recent publication of Ernst&Young (EY) on Megatrends highlights the importance of entrepreneurship: “The growth and prosperity of all economies, rapid-growth and mature, remain highly dependent on entrepreneurial activity… they provide a source of income, and employment for themselves, create employment for others, produce new and innovative products or services, and drive greater upstream and downstream-value-chain activities.” I would call those people “project managers”. However, most of nowadays project managers do not perceive themselves as entrepreneurs or are not seen as such in their organisations.

Entrepreneurship implies qualities of leadership, initiative and innovation in business. It is about managing change and moving things forward. Entrepreneurs are powerful people and able to overcome resistance. They are creative in finding new ways to do things, they certainly see the risks but better balance those with the opportunities. Especially in the developing economies, the entrepreneurs are young and female, recent surveys show this fact.

Whilst entrepreneurs are seen very positively for their contribution to the economic growth, within organisations they are often seen as threat. They do not work according to the rules, they, they often need to break the rules in order to be successful. They are powerful with their ideas, other people in the organisation may feel offended and try to hinder an entrepreneur in moving forward. In case an entrepreneur is successful, there are all doors open for a fast track career. But that´s exactly, why other people, waiting for their careers to progress, by all means try the entrepreneurs to be successful.

In essence, we need to allow for more entrepreneurship in our society, economy and especially in our organisations. Otherwise the entrepreneurs will leave the country or start on their own. We would lose the innovative capacity to move our economies fast forward. Project managers need to embrace entrepreneurship in order to add value to our society. The society needs to allow for more entrepreneurship by fostering a entrepreneur-friendly culture. A win-win for both sides!

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Reinhard Wagner

Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defense, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is Past President of IPMA and Chairman of the Council, Honorary Chairman of GPM (the German Project Management Association), as well as Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH.