Entrepreneurship – Socio-economic development motivation

Entrepreneurship – Socio-economic development motivation

1. Entrepreneurship, also known as entrepreneurial spirit, is a long-standing term in the world.

According to some researchers, entrepreneurial businessman must truly be people who are themselves destined to overcome fate, take risks with the spirit of innovation and creativity. At the same time, they have to be courageous enough to suffer from the failure and loss in their business. According to Peter F. Drucker the economist, “Entrepreneurship is understood to be the act of the entrepreneur – the person who turns the entrepreneurial and financial sensibilities and innovation into commodity products that are economical. The result of these actions is to create new organizations or contribute to the reconstruction of the “old” ones. The clearest form of entrepreneurship is to start building new businesses” (1). In general, entrepreneurship is the spirit of innovation and creativity.  

At the same time, most authors agree on the notion of “entrepreneurship” in the sense of entrepreneur. And in recent years there is another very ‘hot’ entrepreneur concept – Startup. Initially, the term Startup was often used in a narrow sense to refer to startups or startups in technology. The cause comes from the success of a new industry – information technology in the 1990s, and because these new industries are intimately connected with innovation and creativity. Over time this concept has gradually “flattened” and now the term Startup is used for startup activities in all sectors. There is even a broader concept of business – start-up nation. Start-up nation is understood as the entrepreneurship of a young nation that is always in the starting-up phase, where there are many startups and startup entrepreneurs such as Israel, Singapore or the United States.

So, what is the implication of starting a business as an entrepreneur? Startup is a purposeful and systematic innovation. “The entrepreneur shifts economic resources from low quality and quantity areas into the high ones,” (2). But up to now this is not a mere business start-up, but it is both economically and socially. Start-up is associated with all human activities, from living needs to social needs. With such an inscription, we can see that wherever you are, the field of starting a business is the same.

The core elements of entrepreneurship are: the ability to seize business opportunities, the attitude to accept risks, innovative and creative ideas . Researchers have identified some characteristics of entrepreneurship: (i) ambition and entrepreneurial aspirations; (Ii) Ability to create business opportunities; (Iii) Independence and dare to take responsibility; (Iv) Develop creative ideas and innovate problem-solving methods; (V) Durability and dare to take risks and failures; And vi) Business ethics and social responsibility. From those, it is possible to see entrepreneurs’ primary motivation is to assert themselves and then to contribute to society, and the motivation for money and wealth comes second.

However, after nearly 250 years, the concept of entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurialism of J..Bay (2), is still of controversy. In the United States, there are scholars who define entrepreneur as “the founder of a new, small, and proprietary enterprise.” But it’s clear that not every small business is entrepreneurial.



A small example to clarify this point. When Mr. and Mrs. X open a Pho restaurant, they naturally accept certain risks. But are they considered startups? It is that for all they do, others have done the same so many times before. They speculate on the growing need of noodle soup for local residents and tourists, but does not create a new consumer demand or a satisfying new one. Thus, the couple X can not be considered startups, although they have initiated a venture business.

Another great story that happened nearly a century ago in Paris has been told in books. In the middle of the cold winter there was a prostrate beggar at the subway station with a plaque on his back. “I’m hungry, please give me food.” There were a lot of people but it was too cold that they stopped and gave him some cents. Unable to withstand cold weather, he refused to lose, and the next day the beggar thought about replacing another plaque, “I wish winter would not come to Paris.” Immediately, this turned into effect, the message helped the beggar find the sympathy of many people freezing in the snow: “How can this guy overcome the cold?.” And they started giving him money. The little-known beggar was later a millionaire and regarded as the “godfather” of marketing when he invented a way to market to customers. Was the beggar considered a startup in this case? At the time, he had the creative idea of being a startup, and later became a brilliant marketing innovator that helped his company succeed in marketing. Therefore, he is a startup.

2. It can be said that the country with the most startling entrepreneurship in the world in the last few decades is Israel. They have drawn three direct reasons for asuccessful start-up: a suitable government policy; the dynamism of the citizen; and the contribution of the military environment. The deepest and most fundamental element of Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit is education, which creates the “basic gene” for the entrepreneurial spirit of every citizen. Israelis believe that the will to start a business and make innovation will take shape from the neonatal stage. Therefore, children are encouraged to live with nature, develop curiosity, learn everything in nature and in life. In kindergarten, children are introduced to making friends and creating relationships. At the age of children, they learn to live independently, take responsibility for themselves and with what they want to do and learn to take risks and failures. Up to adolescence, they are taught to build teammates and make friends, learn how to react quickly, make bold decisions to win the goals, ready to face any difficulty and danger. By the age of 17-18, they understand their mission for the survival of the nation and the responsibility for the family. Stepping into the military, they learn to practice responsibility for the country. Israel respects those who works over expectation.

“Startup gene” is created very early and grows up in a society which is friendly to entrepreneurs. In fact, in Israel (and other developed countries), many people, even if they are not billionaires, are willing to support start-ups, as a contribution to the economic development and their own future. There is always a team of enthusiastic professionals who help others to start a business. The government has the right policy to support startups: investing, companioning, creating a conducive environment and having startup incentives programs in schools and social institutions. Large and well-established businesses are constantly seeking to connect, encourage, and use the services of startup companies. All of these factors have created a strong entrepreneurial spirit in this “startup country”.


startup-nation* According to The Economist, Singapore is one of the three promising land of entrepreneurship today in the world (the other two are Israel and Denmark). Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew soon recognized the entrepreneurship as a new motivation of social development and called for the country to develop the spirit of start-ups, but Singapore failed in this campaign because Singaporeans did not really have the culture of accepting “failure” as Israelis did. However, Singapore’s entrepreneurial spirit has recently been boosted by pro-government policies. Schools in Singapore have programs that introduce entrepreneurship, and universities promote the link between business training and businesses. By 2008, Singapore had a Venture Fund set up by the government, investing strongly in important start-ups such as digital media, biotechnology, water purification and technologies. Through government media, people are encouraged to adopt passive thinking to become more active. Positive government policies have changed the conservative culture in Singapore, stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit of the young generation on the basis of education and the legal system that supports the start-ups.

* When it comes to America, we often think of powerful corporations, hundreds of billionaires, thousands of brilliant scientists, dozens of Nobel Prize winners, and most modern technologies in the world. What made that success? There are many factors, but the vital factor is the American entrepreneurship. In order to maintain the leading position in the world economy, the United States must take “entrepreneurial spirit” as the main competition advantage. Instead of respecting the tradition as many other countries, Americans value individuals who are willing to start a business and, regardless of the individual’s position in society. President Obama once announced to Americans about the United States Startup Innovation: “Entrepreneurs represent the promise of the United States: If you have a good idea and are willing to work hard to pursue it, you will succeed in this country. And in the process of realizing this promise, entrepreneurs will play an important role in expanding the economy and creating jobs.”

America is the most dynamic society in innovation, and there is always the urgent need to start a business to make new inventions and goods. For every successful business man in the United States, many have tried and failed, countless losers continue to innovate and start new companies. In American culture, the concern and personality of each individual is considered the most important. They honor those who dare to do it themselves. When successful, they are admired as a talented entrepreneur and get a high social positions. When they fail, it is considered a natural and necessary stage to prepare for ultimate success. So the losers are lifted up by society, continue to stand up and start again. This makes American society more competitive in order to bring more achievements and is a great motivation to create new dynamic companies. In addition, Americans are adventurous and they love taking risks. They invest in even the “most crazy plan”. But it is because of that dynamism, the “youth in thought” that they are successful and rich. The United States is also the largest and most active venture fund in the world; This is the seedbed of bold business ideas that has brought success not only in the United States but also around the world.

We have a very typical example of entrepreneurship, that is the success of Donald Trump’s US presidential campaign. A 70-year-old businessman who has no experience in political, military or diplomatic leadership wins over an experienced politician, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with the slogan “Make America great gain”.

From the experience of the mentioned typical startups, it can be seen that the entrepreneurial spirit of entrepreneurs is particularly strongly evoked in the societies in which the economy is flourishing. Where there are start-up education systems with many universities and research and development centers, a large number of young intellectual workers, active business community and proper support from the government.

3. Here is a question: Why and how can Israel, a 65-year-old country with only 8 million people, a small country where more than two thirds are desert, 95% of the country’s area is considered drought and can not be cultivated, even fresh water is lacking, no natural resources, surrounded by 350 million religious protesters create the flower-filled collective farm and give birth to many Nobel Prize winners, prominent scientists and businessmen and control the key areas of the world? Is it worth wondering why Vietnam, the country with the population of nearly 11 times as large as Israel but our GDP per capita is 22 times lower than that of Israel?  And the same question to Singapore whose area is only two thirds of Danang.

In our country, the education system has not paid much attention to raising the entrepreneurship of the young generation. High school graduates are not equipped with the basic principles of economics and practical business approaches. In addition, even university graduates have not got the full idea of establishing a career. Moreover, education-training programs at all levels are aimed at providing learners with knowledge rather than skills needed.

While most of the entrepreneurs are the ones who have little opportunity to learn. The situation is that the majority of people starting a business and setting up a career in Vietnam have a lower education level, while those with higher education and professional qualifications are more likely to work as an employee. Is this a unique feature in our society? Does that feature create a great barrier to the formation of entrepreneurial spirit in the modern life?

4. How to build the entrepreneurial spirit for start-ups in Vietnam in the global integration?

At present, Vietnam’s start-up environment is very young compared to the rest of the world, but we still have a lot of potentials to arouse strong entrepreneurial spirit: golden population, a growing economy, more than half a million businesses are running, hundreds of universities and research centers are operating across the country. The problem, however, is that we are lacking in radical solutions to education reform, mechanisms and policies to support start-ups from the government; especially the solutions to create a culture of starting a business, the culture of accepting “failure” in young people.

First of all, it is necessary to form the entrepreneurial spirit of young people from school. Lessons from developed countries around the world show that the will to be self-employed must be formed in the social and educational system at an early age. Therefore, the reform of the education system from general education to university, in the direction of combining education and training with practical activities is the vital part to form the entrepreneurship, promote the culture of running startup. At the same time, it is necessary to develop specific programs and roadmaps to raise awareness and stimulate entrepreneurial spirit for the people in all social institutions.

Secondly, there should be consistent policies from government and authorities which can create the most favorable environment for start-ups. At present, policies and models for starting a business in Vietnam are still in shortcomings and weak. According to government data, the number of newly established companies is about 80,000 enterprises / year;  but there is an average of 50,000 companies to close down each year. This proves the entrepreneurship of Vietnamese young people. Vietnam’s start-up market is potential but still lacks the necessary mechanisms, policies, investments and support from the society and government.  

Thirdly, in the current context, Vietnam’s economy is facing difficulties, revealing signs of unsustainable development and the state economic sector has revealed serious weakness. The contribution of FDI companies in the process of economic growth and development has many problems to deal with. It is too late to fully enact policies that promote the growth of the domestic private sector. The government must really consider the private sector a driving force for social development. At the same time, it is necessary to quickly and resolutely reform the institution in the direction of drastically reducing administrative procedures, eliminate corporate harassment from public agencies and create the most favorable conditions for start-up. The production process of the business community is therefore smooth and effective.

I firmly believe that once the entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial culture flourishes in all walks of life, especially in the young generation of Vietnam, it will truly become the most powerful and important motivation for economic and social development of our country.





(1) Entrepreneurship and innovation – Peter F. Drucker, 2011

(2) The French Economist, J. B. Say, page 44

Vo Duy Khuong