entrepreneurship

By Pablo Sanguinetti of CAF and UTDT

A long time ago, a reporter is said to have asked the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, “Who is Borges?” To which the characteristically subtle answer was: “A forgotten man, from a forgotten time, from a forgotten continent”. With economic growth in Latin America having decelerated to 4.6 per cent in 2011, to 2.9 per cent in 2012, to 2.7 per cent in 2013 and with commentators dismissing the growth momentum of the preceding decade as a commodity-driven fluke, the region seems indeed to be on a path to oblivion. 

By Shaomin Li and Seung Ho Park

China has produced a class of successful entrepreneurs whose wealth rivals the “old money” of the west. Their success has created a novel phenomenon in China: “fu-er-dai” or “2Rich,” – the second generation of the rich. While their parents earned their money through their own hard work and thus respect in society, the 2Rich have a reputation of spending lavishly and driving expensive sports cars.

While mature economies go through slow wealth transfer over multiple generations, wealthy first-generation entrepreneurs and their descendants are entirely new in fast-growing emerging economies like China. These entrepreneurs are now in their 50s and 60s and beginning to look at retirement and the question of leadership succession in their family-run businesses. Will they hand the reign over to non-family professional managers or their children? Would the 2Rich be willing and ready to continue the family tradition? 

By Alan Clark of SABMiller

Whether you are in Bogota, Brazzaville or Boston, micro and small businesses are vital to prosperity, economic growth and employment. Global Entrepreneurship Week is an opportunity to recognise these motors of job creation – never more important as economies around the world continue to struggle with the legacy of the global financial crisis. And because they are found in every community, rural and urban, they play a key role in driving social progress.This is why supporting micro and small businesses – and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives them – has to be at the top of the policy agenda not just for governments but for the private sector as well. 

It’s one of the anomalies in global statistics: South America is home to the world’s highest proportion of entrepreneurs, yet their presence doesn’t often translate into global innovation or broad-based wealth creation.

Chile has been eager to change that reality. And, it seems, its efforts are starting to bear fruit. Several Chilean-bred tech companies have recently been acquired by venture capital funds, and three Chilean-focused VCs vowed to invest some $67m in Chilean companies this year. Is Chile really becoming “Chilecon Valley”? 

A quarter of the world’s 161m blind and severely visually impaired people live in India, according to Sightsavers, the international charity.

Combine that with the fact that India is buzzing with technology and entrepreneurship, and it makes sense that the world’s first Braille smartphone is being developed in the country. 

By Justin Vela

With 4 per cent growth likely in 2013 and a young, educated population powering the economy forward, Turkey makes an attractive prospect for those seeking new horizons.

But entrepreneurs coming from abroad who don’t know how to navigate the market are likely to be frustrated. Two such arrivals tell beyondbrics their stories. 

President Raúl Castro wants the recent liberalisation of small businesses to bolster Cuba’s sagging economy and absorb the 1m state workers he says will eventually be laid off.

But Cuba’s budding micro-entrepreneurs – over 350,000 had registered as of November 2011 – lack almost everything that start-ups need, from premises and relevant skills to capital. Will they ever really get off the ground?

A bustling restaurant in Havana’s colonial centre – which opened in January 2011, is appropriately called “La Moneda Cubana”, the Cuban coin, and is run by Miguel Ángel, a 37-year old entrepreneur - suggests some answers. 

The Chinese wealthy are facing a problem that the rest of the world would love to have: they do not know what to do with their self-made riches.

China’s first generation entrepreneurs are worried that their children will ruin the family business that they gave their lives to build – and the kids are none too keen to run it anyway. 

Márton Szõke , a Hungarian entrepreneur and angel investor, learned his trade the hard way. “When I started my first business, I was a fool. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have started it.” Nevertheless, he made enough money “to burn most of it in my second venture, which failed.”

But next time round, Szõke got it right and a few years later he sold Indextools, his analytics software company, to Yahoo! and made his first bundle. 

China corruptionWant to get rich quick in China? In Beijing’s anti-corruption drive, some entrepreneurs have seen unusual business opportunities. Take the story of four young men from Hunan, who hatched an unusual plan, recently recounted by state-run newspaper People’s Daily

Taj Hotel, Mumbai, a hub for India's richIndia’s economic boom has given life to a new “caste” of uber-rich risk-takers that are set to become even wealthier over the next decade.

A report called “Top of the Pyramid” by Kotak Mahindra Bank, a Mumbai financial group, and Crisil, the Indian ratings agency, said households with a net worth of Rs250m ($5.6m) would triple within five years to 219,000 on the back of economic growth. What’s most interesting is that many of these families will be headed by risk-on entrepreneurs,  not the safety-first conservatives that have long dominated India’s rich lists. 

Olivia LumEntrepreneurs often grab the popular imagination through the sheer scale of their achievements. Think Steve Jobs, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim or Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska. But the millionaires can be as interesting as the billionaires, especially in key sectors in emerging markets.

Meet Olivia Lum, Ernst&Young World Entrepreneur of the Year 2011, founder of one of the world’s largest water treatment companies, as the FT reported on Tuesday in its special report, Understanding Entrepreneurs. 

Chief executive of SeppanRatan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group and doyen of Indian business, is 73.

But a younger breed of entrepreneur is beginning to break the mould that you have to be old to get to the top in India. Sindhuja Rajamaran, is celebrated in her home country as one of the world’s youngest chief executives. She is 14 years old. 

Roman Abramovich's yacht June 2010The annual of Russian Forbes rich list reads like a who’s who of Rublyovskoye shosse, Moscow’s wealthiest drag, and London’s Belgravia. At the very top of the list are old favourites: Mikhail Prokhorov, Oleg Deripaska, Alisher Usmanov, Roman Abramovich.

But look a little further down and you’ll see the name of Deni Bazhaev, Russia’s youngest multimillionare on the list at the tender age of, gulp, 15. 

Vladimir LisinRussia may have been at the bottom of the Bric league as a direct investment destination last year, but it topped the bill for most number billionaires in the group on the most recent Forbes rich list.

Russia accounts for 15 of the world’s 100 richest people, more than Brazil, India and China combined, according to Forbes latest annual rich list published today.