Entrepreneurship via disruptive telecoms
In the last decade, the world has experienced a sharp increase in the proliferation of entrepreneurial endeavours, in part owing to greater access to the digital resources and widespread connectivity that enable business endeavours to get off the ground in today's always-on world. Consider: early-stage entrepreneurial activity has grown from 11.8 per cent of the world's adult population in 2008 to 16.4 per cent in 2017, despite a global economic struggle during the first half of that time-frame . And in the GCC, entrepreneurial activity is one of the main social and economic drivers for the region.
According to a survey by Bayt.com , 71 per cent of respondents in the region would prefer to be self-employed, and 59 per cent are contemplating starting their own business. Of those who have already entered the entrepreneurship arena, less than one-fifth have failed thus far. This growing success of entrepreneurial endeavours can reasonably be attributed to the increase in availability of the resources that enable entrepreneurs to break into the business landscape with companies that cater to evolving demands in the digital era.
As business operations become increasingly digital with every passing day in the face of a global technological transformation, telcos provide the necessary tools and resources businesses need to deliver on their brand promises and execute their missions. Today, connectivity translates to value creation; and for businesses hoping to succeed in a competitive marketplace, IT tools and services, digital infrastructure, and connectivity will play a vital part.
For operators, the growth of entrepreneurship presents a range of opportunities to go beyond conventional connectivity and assume the role of solutions provider through disruptive technologies that bolster online security, digital communication and operational efficiency. In order for a company to achieve long-term goals, it must have tangible plans to solve long-term problems; and in order to solve long-term problems, it must be able to adapt and expand. As technology evolves and new capabilities emerge, businesses must have the digital resources to capitalise on this transformation and utilise it for fulfilling their corporate intentions. If entrepreneurs can learn to adapt to fulfill evolving needs with ever-changing technologies, they can in turn maintain and sustain their businesses in the long term.
As such, telecom operators must redefine their scope and create a new layer of cloud-based digital infrastructure that promotes innovation and fuels entrepreneurship by acting as an idea incubator in a connected world. As a result, entrepreneurs will be able to build new business models tailored to serve a society amid a technological transformation. Much like many of the now-pervasive global giants that began as startups, such as Uber and Airbnb, or those closer to home, like Souq.com - entrepreneurial endeavours will come to depend largely, if not entirely, on the availability of advanced digital solutions like managed services and advanced 5G network access.
As entrepreneurs carve out a growing space in the modern business landscape, telcos will be responsible for providing the connectivity that creates value and fosters growth for budding businesses. In line with this, telcos such strive to turn connectivity into value creation for entrepreneurs and enterprises across the board. As one example, through initiatives like WiFi UAE, a nationwide service that provides WiFi access to the public in line with UAE Vision 2021, the company is making it easier for entrepreneurs to make their mark and pursue sustainable business. By enabling people across the country to stay connected wherever they are, we are facilitating the innovation and collaboration that are foundational in turning ideas into reality.
The future of entrepreneurship hinges on a connected society and, by extension, a connected marketplace and business landscape. As the world evolves to embrace digitalisation from every angle, connected services and solutions will create value in connectivity provided by the telcos of tomorrow. Through disruptive telecommunications that align with the disruptive entrepreneurial business model, telcos are increasingly responsible for fostering innovation and helping lay the groundwork for the continued prosperity of entrepreneurs in the region and around the world.
The writer is deputy CEO for teleco services at Emirates Integrated Telecommunication Company (du). Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.