Business Opinion: BY FARAI CHIGORA
In the inaugural instalment we introduced the concept of PEOPLE (policy, ecological, organisation, practitioners, leadership, education) as one of the home- grown solutions towards simulating the spirit and practice of entrepreneurship.
This week we take a deep-dive into the homegrown model and take a policy focus, unpacking the implications it has in defining and stimulating the craft of entrepreneurship.
The ‘policy’ in the PEOPLE model denotes the setting of rules and regulations that are critical as they either stimulate or hinder the uptake of entrepreneurship in a country.
In Zimbabwe, this is critical in bringing sanity in the operation of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as a call for industrialisation.
Suffice to note that there is need for consistency and uniformity towards the enforcement of discipline and smooth management of upcoming and growing businesses.
This defines the investment climate in the country, which can either be conducive or hostile. In other jurisdictions they speak of the ease of doing business.
If Zimbabwe is to realise her so-called Vision 2030 of achieving an upper-middle class economy by the same year, then pro-SMEs policies that allow for responsive financing, cost of capital, stability of investment and equally responsive financial and insurance services sector is pivotal in that regard.
Evidently, policies are critical in the day-to-day synthesis towards enhancing equity of SMEs as guided by the 10 commandments in the Bible that if followed, guarantee one more years of life.
Why not apply the same in industrialisation through entrepreneurship?
Businesses are a solid persona that should abide by the rules of the game for a sustainable growth and survival in the complex and dynamic global village.
Discernibly, there are three main economic agents in a nation, that is the household (charity begins at home), businesses/industries (where SMEs exists) and government (as the creator of policies) with each influenced and affected by the policies for good business practise.
There is need for entrepreneurs to develop a habit of influencing policies in their country as it has the direct bearing on how their investments are to perform and shape the growth trajectory of the entire country.
It is no longer enough for the modern day entrepreneur to be a policy taker alone, but being an active player in the entire process of policy formulation and practise.
This is so as entrepreneurship is a result of consolidated policies rather than the business ideas only.
This to an unescapable extent perfectly correlates with the principle of good corporate governance which is a composite of six pillars, namely rules of law, moral integrity, responsibility, participation, responsibility and accountability, effectiveness and efficiency. The concern is on a stubborn and deliberate ignorance by most upcoming businesses to accept and comply with policies without focus on the imperative need to influence their birth and form.
This does not only burden the government in trying to enforce a practice but brew more law enforced penalties rather than collaborated synergies between the government and business owners as the entrepreneurs would not have a sense of ownership of the policies.
It destroys a culture of constructivism and ubuntu not only in positive business development but in building a vibrant economy.
Simply speaking, the role of government in enterprising and industrialisation should be to provide guidance, funding and ideas through policies rather than chasing lawless operators. Start-ups and growing entrepreneurs should therefore be working closely with the government not only in abiding to policies but sharing experiences and providing advice on critical developmental matters.
It is the opposite in our environment where there is a disequilibrium as many entrepreneurs are rather on a cat and mice game in avoiding policies, which they believe are being forced on to them, or are inconsistent and rather a knee-jerk response to save the failing economy.
In this challenge the long-term picture of laying a solid foundation of the SMEs growth framework has been lost in translation due to the pace at which things are changing with industry feeling that the policy proposals are out of serendipity rather than structure and solid stimulation of industrialisation and entrepreneurial growth.
On the other hand, the reason why there is policy stigmatisation in the entrepreneurial fraternity is complexity and technical approach in policy prescription which is greatly not easy to decode by the majority.
There is need for a simplified approach in policy prescription by the makers.
This is due to the fact that most of our entrepreneurs have basic education.
Policies are then perceived by these to be difficult to comprehend as a life prospectus that is meant for the genius economics savvy, if not econometricians.
My opinion to the aforementioned discussions is re-wiring of policy creation into a more interactive and shared approach towards industrialised entrepreneurship.
Fundamentally, there is need to have “policy education” from primary school level up to the Higher and Tertiary Education.
There is need for regular engagements with local communities through workshops and trainings on the basic operationalisation of policies in entrepreneurial and economic development.
Collaboratively there is need for simplified business start-up policy guides that are common and fit in all sectors to learn and prepare for the needed compliance.
For the start-up and growing entrepreneurs, it is important to adhere to government policies and seek new knowledge in the up taking and being compliant to the governing polices specified for the belonging industry.
Common mistakes that have deterred entrepreneurial for industrialisation include:
- Tax avoidance and evasion;
- Corruption in operations and exchange;
- Deliberate ignorance to policy understanding;
- Operating without regulatory documents and licencing;
- Not having clear Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are in line with prevailing policies;
- Not having accreditations by local and international regulating bodies such as SAZ and ISO certification.
Therefore, not understanding a holistic approach to ruling policies like the current National Development Strategy 1 and specified operational policies will derail the Vision 2030.
- Dr Farai Chigora is a businessman and academic. He is the Head of Business Science at the Africa University’s College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance. His Doctoral Research focused on Business Administration. He is into agribusiness and consults for many companies in Zimbabwe and Africa. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted for feedback and business at email@example.com, WhatsApp mobile: +263772886871.