Could fewer entrepreneurs mean greater prosperity?

In Zimbabwe, 75% of the population is involved in start-ups. Some of the leading entrepreneurial countries in the world are in Africa.


Most of the entrepreneurs in the world eke out a living. Rajesh Chandy, Professor of Marketing at London Business School, has been studying the debilitating constraints these microentrepreneurs face. Many of these people have never once left the area they were born in.

The good news is, business skills seem to help. Rajesh and his team gave entrepreneurs in South Africa training in finance, sales and marketing for 10 weeks, with interesting results.

There’s a difference between healthy thriving entrepreneurial environments that create prosperity, and big business. But Professor Chandy found that experience in big business can unlock doors in unexpected ways, as his story illustrates. He says that having fewer entrepreneurs in the world – working efficiently and employing others – would hit poverty harder than producing more.

Society celebrates the hoodie-wearing Silicon Valley entrepreneur but ignores the ingenuity of these billions of businesspeople all over the world. Is it time for big corporates to start giving back by acting as training grounds for the next generation of microentrepreneurs?


These films were created as part of TEDx London Business School. Ideas worth spreading, from the LBS community.

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