February 22, 2016
This is your week.
Back in 2007, it was “official;” in June of ’06, the US Congress passed a bill designating the last week of February “National Entrepreneurship Week.” It was “celebrated” in 2007… but, about 10 months later, the Great Recession came in like a flood, and attention was diverted from celebrating start-ups to bashing institutions (Big Banks/Wall Street/Government enablement). It’s no longer official…
It makes perfect sense: the legacy world – the institutions that were too-big-to-fail; enterprises run by leaders who had stacked-the-deck, making it possible for them to win big with nothing at risk, personally – took a beating, and the little guys (and, their retirement savings) paid the bill.
America has been in a decade-long time-out; prosperity has been put on hold while the hands that used to hold the plow and create progress have, instead, pointed fingers in an attempt to lay-the-blame for the dark clouds that have blocked the light of optimism since December ’07.
No longer a government-sanctioned week, Entrepreneurs have grabbed their bootstraps this week – February 21-28 – to declare the value of the creative risk-taker to the world-at-large. Is the private operator who puts his/her own time and treasure on the table, confident that their concept will break into the black and reward their vision – an enemy of the state, or the basis for the American dream?
In the lexicon of the marketplace, an entrepreneur is someone who exercises initiative by organizing a venture to benefit from an opportunity. He/she supplies original capital as a risk-taker, and then monitors and controls the enterprise. Usually a sole proprietor, partner or majority owner, they are not necessarily motivated by profit, but they use that metric to measure achievement or success. Every great institution was – in its origins – the product of entrepreneurship, practiced by someone(s) who put it all on-the-line to prove their idea(s) credible.
Socialism advocates institutions as the ultimate solution; capitalism advocates free enterprise as the ultimate solution. The philosophies are mutually exclusive; America is – currently – in a cultural war to determine its future course, between those alternatives. Bureaucrats wear the jerseys for socialism; entrepreneurs line up on the other side of the field. The game-clock is running; there’s no time-out for National Entrepreneurship Week when the ball is live and the outcomes are in flux.
It’s no stretch to see the conflict that swirled across Israel twenty centuries ago through that lens. A young Entrepreneur – raised in Nazareth in an environment without any free lunch or institutional safety net – came out of nowhere and challenged the strongest cultural institutions of his day. The Roman government and the Jewish religion were in a tense working relationship, sustaining their hold on power by keeping the rank-and-file under their oppressive control.
Marketplace entrepreneurs use profits to measure success; the original Kingdom Entrepreneur used people to measure success (he called them “fruit;” they were his bottom-line). His primary collaborators were, themselves, marketplace entrepreneurs; he spent three years recalibrating their primary focus from building their businesses to building his Kingdom. When he left, he commissioned them to continue the disruptive efforts he had pioneered and expand the brand across the entire planet.
Human systems – left to natural erosion – age entrepreneurial innovations into bureaucratic institutions. Supernatural explosion opposes natural erosion: Jesus continues to disrupt the status-quo in favor of radical transformation. God – who describes himself as “the one who makes all things new” (Revelation 21:5) – never gets bored; he gets busy… making things better.
Happy Entrepreneurship Week. Be like your Master: don’t settle; start something better.