Critical Need for Entrepreneurs in South Africa says Clem Sunter

Clem SunterRenowned business leader and scenario planner Clem Sunter spoke about the critical need for entrepreneurship in South Africa at BMGI’s recent business breakfast held at Sandton.

“We need to grow the economy and create jobs,” he said.  “In this context, the role of small business is critical.  Entrepreneurs – men and women who create new businesses specifically to satisfy needs they identify in their environment – need to be encouraged, assisted and rewarded.”

Entrepreneurship and the growth of small business cannot happen in isolation.  It needs to be the product of a helpful business and regulatory environment.  “Setting up a small business should be relatively easy.  Red tape needs to be minimized.  Access to finance should be easier.  Providing potential entrepreneurs with management, marketing, financial and administrative skills should happen more readily,” stressed Sunter.

“One of the characteristics of South African business over the decades has been the emergence of many outstanding entrepreneurial business leaders, from the early twentieth century mining trailblazers to amazing modern leaders like Adrian Gore and Elon Musk, to name just two.  There is no reason why there should not be many more such entrepreneurs.  They just need to be given the right environment,” he said.

Rewarding entrepreneurial spirit and success is essential.  “Starting a successful business is often reward in itself, but companies need to reward entrepreneurship within their own ranks as well.  Creative and innovative employees need to be recognised and rewarded.  Usually, the growth of a business comes from the innovative skills of a handful of entrepreneurial employees within its ranks.  These people need to be nurtured and rewarded.”

Clem Sunter  at BMGI Business Breakfast

Clem Sunter speaking at BMGI’s Business Breakfast in May.

As an international consulting firm that focuses on strategy, innovation, operational excellence and change management, one of BMGI’s core areas of expertise  is the management of innovation, a key success factor for companies operating in an environment where change is happening at an increasingly rapid rate.

BMGI consultant Dimitri Markoulides shared the podium with Sunter at the event.  “Companies need to focus on innovation as an important corporate philosophy and skill.  Not all people are naturally creative and innovative, but, in many cases, both companies and individuals can be taught to be innovative.

BMGI is currently rolling out South Africa’s first formal Innovation Champion Programme, which provides individuals with the skills necessary to manage the innovation process within a company.  “The Innovation Champion is the individual within the company tasked with driving the process forward.  We have shown that the course builds competency and equips the Innovation Champion with the tool sets required to successfully roll out and deploy innovation in the organisation,” said Markoulides, BMGI’s own innovation champion.

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Clem Sunter to Speak at BMGI’s Business Breakfast: What to Expect (Part 3)

More from the Renowned Scenario Plannerclemsunter_5

BMGI’s business breakfast will take place at the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel in Sandton on May 20, 2015.  In this preview of the highlights of Sunter’s presentation, we look at Clem’s use of the ‘Mind of a Fox’ analogy as it relates to innovation and scenario planning. Read part one and part two here. 

‘You need the bright eyes of a fox to survey the world around you; you need the mind of a fox to map out the best way of handling the changes you see happening; and you need the speed and agility of a fox’s response to turn your decisions into action.  It’s all about looking out, then looking in,’ he explains.

BMGI Clem Sunter Gears‘Before you decide what you can do based on what you control in your business, you have to understand the environment around you and particularly the relevant factors you don’t control and how they may have changed or might change in the future.  In life there are things which are relatively predictable and certain; but equally there are many issues  which are beyond your power of prediction and which you have to consider before committing yourself to action.  If you follow these principles, you will capture all that is happening around you; and you will also acquire the speed and flexibility of response needed to pursue the opportunities and counter the threats posed by the changing environment.  According to Charles Darwin, the most successful species are not necessarily the most powerful ones, but those that most readily adapt to whatever nature throws at them. The same applies to human pursuits.’

Clem Sunter Headlines BMGI’S Business Breakfast – What to Expect (Part 2)

BMGI Clem Sunter

Clem Sunter, renowned scenario planner and international business consultant, will be addressing a business breakfast, hosted by BMGI, at the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel in Sandton on May 20, 2015.

In the next of our highlights from Clem’s presentation, we look at Clem’s view on how companies can successfully develop a culture of innovation.

BMGI Clem Sunter Bulb Puzzle‘It is self-evident that innovation is crucial to the success of businesses in the rapidly-changing modern era,’ he says.  ‘Within companies, some people are naturally innovative and creative.  They think laterally without formal training.  Other people, highly competent though they may be, struggle to be naturally innovative.  In the end, it’s all about nature versus nurture, which is why formal training in innovation is so important.  Innovation can be taught, not only at the individual level, but also at the corporate level, where companies need to have formal structures in place to encourage innovation on a continuous basis.’

Clem believes that South Africa need not stand back in the innovation stakes.  ‘We have had numerous highly innovative and creative business people that can take their places on the world stage.  Two examples are Adrian Gore, founder of Discovery Health, and Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors.’