There is a growing body of research that new ways of doing business (business model innovations) and new technologies come from agile, resourceful and motivated start-ups. Anecdotal evidence in recent years points to new companies such as WeWork, Airbnb and Uber.
How is it that these resourceconstrained start-ups were able to attract talent, fund growth, challenge large incumbents and then dominate the market?
The answer is the entrepreneurial mind-set and attitude of the entrepreneurs and the people who work with them.
The entrepreneurial spirit inspires others. Entrepreneurs motivate talented people to give their time and expertise. Entrepreneurs are able to share their grand vision of how the world should be to supporters, partners, employees and investors alike. People want to work with an entrepreneur because they see his purpose. They see his willingness to sacrifice and how he turns daily tasks into a mission.
Sacrifice and determination. Entrepreneurs are willing to risk their reputation and forgo great employment opportunities to make an impact on the world. An entrepreneur wakes up early every day and feels the desire to hustle. The mission is something an entrepreneur believes in so deeply that he takes no weekends or holidays off.
Belief in the mission. Entrepreneurs have the grit to persevere despite the obstacles in the way because of their belief in their vision. An entrepreneur is emboldened to handle the pressures of squaring off against competitors that are well-funded and adequately staffed. He starts and ends every single day fighting for every inch to fulfill his mission.
My short reflection on social entrepreneurship
My wife and I launched PeoplePods, a social enterprise which partners with manufacturers in Batangas to provide safe, clean and affordable dormitory communities for their minimum-wage employees. Many workers have moved from other provinces for safe employment. Because of the housing shortage, they live in risky mixed-gender dwellings and pay high accommodations costs.
I have asked myself many times whether taking this “road less traveled” was worthwhile. Every time I find myself doubting, I remember what one of my titos(uncles) told me. He said a worthwhile enterprise has two main attributes: Number 1, the enterprise is one our family can be proud of (i.e., makes the world a better place); and number 2, it is an enterprise that can be scaled to impact thousands of people.
Seeing the initial fruits of our labors—our first 200-person community—makes this journey worthwhile.
The pioneering entrepreneurial spirit, however, is not limited to launching a new business. It is in finding creative solutions to challenges faced by one’s company or its customers. It is determinedly working to fulfill one’s mission in the company.
As part of the Business Management committee of the Achievement Awards, I was impressed by the creativity of the business model innovations and the grit of the nominees. Projects such as those I witnessed capture the essence of the pioneering entrepreneurial spirit that will drive the Lopez Group into the future.
Dan Lopez Layug, CFA, founded PeoplePods which provides dignified and affordable coliving for minimum wage workers of Batangas industrial parks. PeoplePods was listed in the top “Social Enterprises to watch for in Asia in 2018” by DBS Bank (Singapore). The start-up won 1st Place at the 35th INSEAD Venture Competition (France) and the 2017 kellogg Real Estate Competition (USA).
Prior to PeoplePods, Layug worked for six years at ING Bank’s Mergers & Acquisitions team and Maybank ATRKE’s Equity Capital Markets team covering transactions in Southeast Asia. He holds a professional diploma in Building & Property Management from the College of Saint Benilde. He graduated from Georgetown University with undergraduate degrees in Finance and Chinese Studies and from an INSEAD MBA where he was recognized as exemplifying the school’s vision of “Using Business as a Force for Good.” (Story/Photos by: Dan Lopez Layug)