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The early bird

The early bird

Originality is all well and good, but Kipp thinks timeliness is the key to successful entrepreneurship in this region.

January 24, 2011 2:57 by

One of thing that always annoyed the young Kipp when we were in university was the very real divide between the theoretical and the practical. Now, Kipp isn’t a fan of the saying ‘those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach,’ because we have had our share of brilliant and competent professors, but we understand the kind of detachment from the real world the phrase is getting at. Professors, scholars and academics spend a good portion of their life philosophizing and theorizing, so that often, when their students leave university, they find the almost artistic puritan perspective endorsed by their mentors to be at odds with the  reality on ground in the professional world.

Take, for instance, the recent comments by Dr Peter Heath, the chancellor of the American University in Sharjah. Speaking at a networking event for young entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi last week organised by the not-for-profit group Tamakkan, Dr.Heath stressed young entrepreneurs should first look at local needs before setting up shop instead of merely copying already successful Western business models.

The National quotes the chancellor as saying “”I think there’s a mentality to take successful models from Europe and the US and say ‘why don’t we do something like that in the Middle East’?(…)”Rather than creating businesses like Facebook and Google, people should be analysing the market and looking to fill the current needs here.”

Fair enough, thinks Kipp. But we also think that while the rhetoric behind these kinds of statements is inspiring, it is also theoretical. Sure, we agree with Dr.Heath, entrepreneurs needs to be aware of the cultural particulars of the location of their operations, but rather than striving to be original and different from other business, Kipp can think of at least three examples that prove you just need to be the first in the market.

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