There's a host of entrepreneurial type courses available around most of New Zealand's universities these days, and Victoria University Wellington's also in the game.
VUW's relatively new Professor of International Entrepeneurship, David Crick, recently gave an inaugural address at the universities historic Hunter Chamber.
The Englishman has based most of his academic career on examining the characteristics of entrepreneurial success, and though one of the outcomes was to spruik the varsity's course, the audience gained some insights from 'Seizing Opportunities: Lessons from International Entrepreneurs'.
Among Crick's points:
• Firms that go internationally tend to be more productive
• Domestic firms with a global view understand the international market, e.g. competition from overseas
• At the micro level - firms don't make decisions, but individuals in them do
Firms/entrepreneurs need to ask themselves some fairly basic questions Crick argues:
• There may be a product or service, but is it needed?
• Is the demand domestically and/or overseas, to make it viable?
• What is the track record of the team and is it export ready?
Crick says part of the entrepreneurial spirit is recognising personal limits and building a good team.
He used the term 'effectuation' to describe the bringing into being that an entrepreneur carries
Entrepreneurs facing a similar yet evolving situation behave differently:
• Start with your means - don't wait for the perfect opportunity
• Set an affordable loss - evaluation opportunities' downside and upside
• Leverage contingencies - flexible surprises from uncertain situations
• Crazy-quilt principle - network and form partnerships with stakeholders
• Cycle -effectuation isn't a one time exercise and life is far from static
Common characteristics among successful international entrepreneurs are:
• Knowing customers
• Possessing insight
• Risk takers
• Recognising personal limitations
Crick's evaluated many different forms of government 'help' for international entrepreneurs around the world. From what he's seen, NZ Trade & Enterprise does a pretty good job!