ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND TECHNOLOGY

Internet has changed the way we look at a problem and then deal with it. Be it the newbies or the old-aged, the technology upgrade facilitated by the entrepreneurs has successfully made everyone more independent. Independence from asking for favors for trivial things such as bill payment, transportation, e-shopping, household chores, etc.

Technology provides a wide range of tools entrepreneurs can use to guide their new companies through the startup and growth stages. Small-business accounting, marketing and communication have been revolutionized by advances in computer, network and communications technology, and businesses in a range of industries continually adapt to take full advantage of technological developments.

A lot has changed for entrepreneurs in the last decade, most of it brought about by improvements in technology.  It has never been easier to purchase a domain name, use a do-it-yourself web design platform and launch a website for your adoring fans.  Nor has it been easier to find the educational resources that empower us to do these things ourselves, or for a low price.  These are the opportunities that my father wouldn’t recognize when he started his own accounting firm in the 1980s.

No more thumbing through the Yellow Pages, or worrying that you’ll miss a call when you step out, or wondering how to stay in touch while you’re on vacation. Who would have imagined we’d have a solution that fits in your pocket?

Now most entrepreneurs see the opportunity to work anytime anywhere as a double-edged sword: free from the desk, but tethered to the smartphone.

The entrepreneurs from the startup sector have been the game changers. This is the sector that has made most out of the smartphone trend and has used it innovatively with technology to improve our lifestyle and mitigating the usual day-to-day hassles. There is a new app in the market every other day that promises to solve yet another problem of our through technology. But the underlying thought behind most of the apps remains the same – easing the hassles of the customers, and making almost everything possible online through mobile. This revolution that has started around two decade back, is now well in its prime. The idea is to make every process and every transaction so simple and transparent that even elderly people can get accustomed with the way these services are availed.

According to internetlivestats.com, India has the highest yearly growth rate and currently has the third largest number of Internet users globally. As per reports, India is ranked 1st in Baseline Profitability Index in 2015. This very fact in itself highlights the fact that our country has a huge potential to develop further and give other developed nations a tough competition through its technological advancements and ‘ideas’. This result indicates a promising future that India holds for all the investors. Looking at this trend, a handful of global multinationals have invested in various sectors of the country and are actually witnessing increase in returns.

After more than seven decades of independence, we can proudly say that we are not only aggressively pursuing economic growth and development but also augmenting the true essence of freedom and technological independence at a macro level. With the government’s vision of a ‘new India’, the country now has a strong hold and continued focus on science and technology and has realized its importance across sectors for a holistic growth.

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

Climate Change isn’t the only consequence of carbon pollution from fossil fuels. If driving global temperature rise wasn’t enough, increased carbon in our atmosphere is also behind the rapid acidification of our world’s oceans.

But what exactly is ocean acidification?

When carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed by seawater, chemical reactions occur that reduce seawater pH, carbonate ion concentration, and saturation states of biologically important calcium carbonate minerals. These chemical reactions are termed “Ocean Acidification” or “OA” for short.

Oceans becoming more acidic after the Industrial Revolution are no accident. As humans burn more and more fossil fuels, the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere continues to rise, driving climate change and making both air and sea temperatures hotter and hotter.

Ocean acidification is expected to impact ocean species to varying degrees. Photosynthetic algae and sea grasses may benefit from higher CO2 conditions in the ocean, as they require CO2 to live just like plants on land. On the other hand, studies have shown that a more acidic environment has a dramatic effect on some calcifying species, including oysters, clams, sea urchins, shallow water corals, deep sea corals, and calcareous plankton. When shelled organisms are at risk, the entire food web may also be at risk. Today, more than a billion people worldwide rely on food from the ocean as their primary source of protein. Many jobs and economies in the U.S. and around the world depend on the fish and shellfish in our oceans.

Ocean acidification is an emerging global problem. Over the last decade, there has been much focus in the ocean science community on studying the potential impacts of ocean acidification. Since sustained efforts to monitor ocean acidification worldwide are only beginning, it is currently impossible to predict exactly how ocean acidification impacts will cascade throughout the marine food chain and affect the overall structure of marine ecosystems. With the pace of ocean acidification accelerating, scientists, resource managers, and policymakers recognize the urgent need to strengthen the science as a basis for sound decision making and action.

Future predictions indicate that the oceans will continue to absorb carbon dioxide and become even more acidic. Estimates of future carbon dioxide levels, based on business as usual emission scenarios, indicate that by the end of this century the surface waters of the ocean could be nearly 150 percent more acidic, resulting in a pH that the oceans haven’t experienced for more than 20 million years.

CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON MARINE LIFE

Sometimes it’s surprising on how self-centered we humans can be. We are so concerned about our future; we forget to think about others present. When I say others, I mean Marine life.

We all are aware about changing climate and how it is affecting our lifestyle. We all are also aware that these are results of our own actions.

But we close our eyes towards the living being who are suffering because of our actions.

Much attention has been focused on the effects of climate change on forests, farms, freshwater sources and the economy. But what about the ocean?

This June, the world’s oceans reached 17 degrees Celsius, their highest average temperature since record keeping for these data began in the 19th century. And a new experiment suggests that those balmier waters might mean big changes for the marine food chain.

Even with its vast capacity to absorb heat and carbon dioxide, the physical impacts of climate change on the ocean are now very clear and dramatic. According to a 2013 report, temperatures in the shallowest waters rose by more than 0.1 degree Celsius (0.18 degree Fahrenheit) each decade between 1970 and 2010.

Most marine species and ecosystems are presently under numerous simultaneous threats. In addition to climate change, these include fishing, elevated UV exposure, pollution, alien introductions and disease. The resistance of individual species to single threats may be reduced in the face of multiple stressors, and perturbed ecosystems suffer diversity loss that can compromise ecosystem function and resistance to further change. For instance, drops in pH may interfere with ion exchange, depressing metabolism and leading to a narrower window of thermal tolerance. Polar bears are not only struggling in the face of ice loss, but are also weakened by accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls; the Black Sea suffered a regime shift after prolonged heavy fishing pressure, a jellyfish invasion and eutrophication; many coral reefs are suffering from rising temperatures, acidification, disease, fishing and tourist impact as well as silting and excess nutrients from river runoff. Analysis of several north Atlantic fish stocks suggests that declining recruitment is climatically-driven, and that fishing on its own cannot explain observed downward trends. The claim that “climate findings let fishermen off the hook” does not, however, tell the whole story, and excessive fishing will certainly not assist ecosystems stressed by climate change. There is growing acceptance of the requirement for an ecosystem approach to marine fisheries and environment management: this approach should take account of the whole gamut of anthropogenic and natural threats to ecosystems, including climate change.

The changing climate and its effect on marine life have a direct impact on us. As coral reefs die, we will lose an entire ecological habitat of fish. According to the World Wildlife Fund, a small increase of two degrees Celsius would destroy almost all existing coral reefs. Additionally, ocean circulation changes due to warming would have disastrous impacts on marine fisheries.

This drastic impact is often hard to imagine. It can only be related to a similar historical event. Fifty-five million years ago, ocean acidification led to a mass extinction of ocean creatures.

According to our fossil record, it took more than 100,000 years for the oceans to recover. Eliminating the use of greenhouse gasses and protecting our oceans will prevent this from reoccurring.

ENTREPRENEUR OR INTRAPRENEUR?

When a company’s growth begins to dwindle, boardroom meetings grow strained and the finger pointing starts. Executives cry out, “We need a new strategy! We need to hire better people! Our culture is to blame! Our compensation is wrong!” The founder, if he or she is still around, sadly states, “We have more people, resources, and money than ever. But now we are so big we can’t even get out of our own way!”

“Intrapreneurs! What we need are intrapreneurs!” The “hip” executive explains that intrapreneurs are “inside entrepreneurs” who will follow their founder’s example. The intrapreneur, he or she promises, will buck the corporate malaise, risk his or her career to get things done and, is willing to “do the right thing to serve the customer.”

What happens? Management chooses an intrapreneur hoping that this “champion” is victorious. If successful, this person becomes the company’s future leader.

Despite their righteousness, why don’t more intrapreneurs succeed? Because in doing what is right, intrapreneurs hold a mirror up to their peers, forcing them to confront what they and their company have become. Just like a middle-aged, weekend warrior exercising after years of complacence, when a stagnant company tries to transform into a high-growth business, the picture is not very pretty.

Entrepreneurs vs. Intrapreneurs

Let’s face it, when under pressure to grow, organizations of all kinds look to their roots and their previous successes for answers. Rekindling business growth inside an organization often represents the toughest challenge to a maturing organization.

Can it regain its entrepreneurial spirit and continue to thrive despite its mature culture?

By turning to intrapreneurs, the company hopes it can have the best of both worlds. It can work if owners follow the above steps.

Intrapreneurs, by definition, embody the same characteristics as the entrepreneur: conviction, passion, and drive. The more the intrapreneur expresses him or herself, the more the company is forced to confront its own effectiveness. If the company is supportive, the intrapreneur succeeds. When the organization is not, the intrapreneur usually fails or leaves to start a new company.

Every effective worker has intrapreneurial traits that may or may not culminate in an entrepreneurial life. Ask yourself how close are you to becoming an entrepreneur? Your answer will help you to decide whether you should stay or you should go!

CLIMATE CHANGE LEADS TO CORAL BLEACHING

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on this planet. They are home to numerous species of marine life and offer a plethora of benefits both to natural ecosystems and to the human population. Coral reefs bring in enormous funds to coastal countries through tourism, fishing, and discoveries of new biochemicals and drugs (Hoegh-Guldberg 1999). Additionally, they provide natural coastal protection and building materials (Hoegh-Guldberg 1999). However, coral reefs are experiencing massive die-outs all around the world.

Climate change is the greatest global threat to coral reef ecosystems. Scientific evidence now clearly indicates that the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean are warming, and that these changes are primarily due to greenhouse gases derived from human activities.

Climate change will affect coral reef ecosystems, through sea level rise, changes to the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, and altered ocean circulation patterns. When combined, all of these impacts dramatically alter ecosystem function, as well as the goods and services coral reef ecosystems provide to people around the globe.

Warmer water temperatures brought on by climate change stress corals because they are very sensitive to changes in temperature. If water temperatures stay higher than usual for many weeks, the zooxanthellae they depend on for some of their food leave their tissue. Without zooxanthellae, corals turn white because zooxanthellae give corals their color. White, unhealthy corals are called bleached. Bleached corals are weak and less able to combat disease.

Bleaching events on coral reefs around the globe were observed in 1998 (West and Salm 2003). In some Pacific islands, a little bit of bleaching is common in the summer; however, there have been times when bleaching is particularly bad in this region (Craig 2009). For example, larger than normal bleaching events in the National Park of American Samoa occurred in 1994, 2002, and 2003 (Craig 2009). As climate change continues, bleaching will become more common, and the overall health of coral reefs will decline.

DOMINATE YOUR MARKET

Let’s cut to the chase shall we? To succeed in business you need to constantly out-think and out-maneuver your competitors in order to out-sell them.  Business success is about identifying a market segment you can dominate and then owning that segment.

If marketing is critical to the success of any business — and believe me, it is — how do we reconcile that with the reality that few business leaders actually understand marketing and give it the focus it deserves?

While selling is relatively straightforward and intuitive, marketing is not. Marketing is complex and nuanced. That’s why it mystifies so many, and yet it’s absolutely critical to business success.

The marketplace is a volatile place. Like a field built on a fault line, it can crack at any moment. Sometimes, that results in economic anxiety, but at others, the cracks can reveal some stupendously profitable new market.

  1. Have deep-rooted knowledge of your target audience.

Business follows people. The deeper you understand the people in your emerging market; the easier it becomes to serve them the right product.

For Boris Mordkovich, the founder of Evelo, an electric bike company, says, “Success in entering new markets and taking over comes when you spend heavily in getting to know your product’s target audience, and aggressively serving them your products based on the customer information you have on them.”

“Not everyone is your target customer,” he added. Previously, we were heavily targeting the 20s and 30s for our electric bikes. But fortunately, due to our heavy investment in knowing our target audience and how to serve them, we accidentally discovered that our main customers were on the older side: 50 or 60, baby boomers, recent retirees, and that singlehandedly helped us build on the market.”

  1. Differentiate or die.

As a business owner, it’s a necessity to have a differentiated value proposition. But differentiation isn’t just about focusing on what you’re best at. Often it’s more about positioning: how you define and segment the market.

For example, how did WhatsApp, a four-year-old company with one app, 55 employees, and no revenue to speak of garner a half-billion highly engaged users and end up being acquired by Facebook for $19 billion? After all, the market is flooded with thousands of apps, including dozens of messaging apps, some from the likes of Google and Apple.

The answer is part focus group of one, part market segmentation, and part development. Its founders wanted a simple messaging app that didn’t store messages, collect user data, or bombard users with ads, games, and gimmicks. They thought others would want that, too. That was their value proposition.

If you can’t distinguish your company and its products against the competition in a way that’s meaningful to customers, you’re doomed to slim profits and minuscule market share. And just because you say you’re different doesn’t make it so. If customers don’t agree, forget it. That’s how marketing connects products to customers: through a differentiated value proposition. Without it, you’re doomed.

  1. You can never afford to lose a customer.

There’s a lot of confusion over cause and effect in business. Too many entrepreneurs think it’s all about them and their employees. It’s not. Not even close.

There are actually three and only three major stakeholders in any company: investors, employees, and customers. Investors give employees money to make and sell products to customers. Without customers, employees lose their jobs, and investors lose their money. No customers, no company.

MELTING DESERT

Climate change is turning Antarctica green. It may conjure up an image of a pristine white landscape, but researchers say climate change is turning the continent green.

Antarctica’s ice may melt faster than previously thought as result of a newly discovered network of lakes and streams that destabilize the continent’s ice shelves, according to new research — making them more vulnerable to collapse.

Because the collapse of vulnerable parts of the ice sheet could rise the sea level dramatically, the continued existence of the world’s great coastal cities — Miami, New York, Shanghai and many more — is tied to Antarctica’s fate.

Antarctica holds 90% of the world’s ice and rapid ice melt and the associated collapse of ice sheets could have profound effects across the globe, including a steep rise in sea levels, but much remains unknown about the speed at which Antarctic ice is melting. An accompanying study also published in Nature this week evaluates a specific region in Antarctica — the Nansen Ice Shelf — and finds that the worst destabilizing effects are avoided as the melted water drains into the ocean. It remains unclear which ice sheets will respond like Nansen and which will have the destabilizing effect seen elsewhere.

Ice sheets flow downhill, seemingly in slow motion. Mountains funnel the ice into glaciers. And ice flowing from the land into the sea can form a floating ice shelf.

A rapid disintegration of Antarctica might, in the worst case, cause the sea to rise so fast that tens of millions of coastal refugees would have to flee inland, potentially straining societies to the breaking point. Climate scientists used to regard that scenario as fit only for Hollywood disaster scripts. But these days, they cannot rule it out with any great confidence.

Countries around the globe committed in the 2015 Paris Agreement to work to keep temperatures from rising more than 2°C (3.6°F) by 2100, though it remains unclear whether they will be able to meet that target. Even if that target is met, sea level rise will average 0.2 meters (0.67 feet) by 2100, though many places like the East coast of the U.S. will face a far greater rise, according to recent research.

JUST GET AN IDEA

Every business must be open to opportunities. One important thing to remember, that’s pretty easily forgotten, is that every single company in the world once started with a founder or a founding team saying a simple Yes to an idea. Ideas are powerful things – they can be the most powerful force imaginable, in fact. That’s because ideas are what causes the world to shift, change and transform. The beauty of business though, is that ideas always evolve. The idea you start with isn’t necessarily the idea you finish with.

Whether the IDEA is original, borrowed, or bought, the IDEA is the heart of any business through all stages if its life. If there’s no idea, there’s no business. The IDEA is what will keep you fired up, and give you pride. Plus, the IDEA is the most fun part of business. Look around having in mind some new idea or opportunity.

It isn’t always about making more money; sometimes it’s about having more freedom and a higher quality of life. How happy and sated you are also has a big impact on your productivity in the workplace. If you’re simply going through the motions in your job and you’re clearly unhappy, then it might be time for a change.

If you look back at some of the most successful businesses in the past 100 years, they’ve been companies who have been ready to adapt at any given time, whether that means adapting to a new market, a new technology or a new competitive landscape. Take Apple – they started out as a business selling simple, handmade home computers. Today, the bulk of their money comes from manufacturing the most successful phone ever built. That’s an enormous change, and it’s one that every business should be committed to facing at some point in their existence.

For many companies, the obstacles to this kind of evolution are often obstacles of scale and preparation. It’s difficult to know if your business has the resources, the talent or the financial runway to support a shift in what you do and how you do it. Knowing that you can support a strong move in a new direction is the first step to ensuring you have a future as a company. So how do you get there?

You really have to establish a firm grasp on your business’ health. You’ve got to be able to track and manage as much of the data and the information around your staff, your productivity, your cash flow and your projections. To be in the perfect position to face change and transformation, you need to work through every aspect and element of what your company does, measure it, and build a reliable dashboard that can provide you with the right knowledge at the right time.

Embrace new ideas. That’s the way our clients build innovative services and products and build the future of their companies!

CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE END OF THE WORLD?

Yes, climate change is real, and yes, humans are a large part of the cause.

There are many reasons why climate change is considered to be very real, but going into detail would just reiterate what you learn in climate- and weather-related classes.

It’s more like our real estate options are dwindling. There will likely be more extreme weather events, less land than before and higher average global temperatures. But that does not mean all seven continents are going underwater or that earthquakes will render the surface of the earth unlivable.

The impact of climate change means that we are going to have to adapt to an ever-changing earth. People will have to move from the coasts, millions will experience malnourishment and people will die. Now, that’s on the extreme side of the predictions, but does that sound like the end of the human race and life altogether? Not to trivialize the possible implications of climate change, but extinction does not seem to be the likely scenario. Realistically, we are looking at events that could cut our populations, but the human race will likely thrive.

Global warming is not the only risk our society faces. Even if science tells us that climate change is real and man-made, it does not tell us, as Former President Obama asserted, that climate change is the greatest threat to humanity.

Global warming is not even the obvious top environmental threat. Dirty water, dirty air and insect-borne diseases are a far greater problem today for most people world-wide. Habitat loss and human predation are a far greater problem for most animals. Elephants won’t make it to see a warmer climate. Climate policy advocates’ apocalyptic vision demands serious analysis, and mushy thinking undermines their case. If carbon emissions pose the greatest threat to humanity, it follows that the costs of nuclear power—waste disposal and the occasional meltdown—might be bearable. It follows that the costs of genetically modified foods and modern pesticides, which can feed us with less land and lower carbon emissions, might be bearable. It follows that if the future of civilization is really at stake, adaptation or geo-engineering should not be unmentionable. And it follows that symbolic, ineffective, political grab-bag policies should be intolerable.

Our situation is precarious, but fearmongers who claim the earth is at a tipping point do a disservice to climate scientists and science as a whole. They do not represent the facts and they misunderstand the human race. We are explorers, inventors, artists and pioneers — we are going to push through any challenge.

 

SOW SEEDS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Schools teach the basic sciences and math that lay the foundation for higher education. They also teach students to think ‘out-of-the-box’; however the extent of going beyond the conventional depends on individual tastes. As compared to institutes abroad, Indian schools are limited when it comes to practical education. Most of us, irrespective of whichever generation we may be from, would have acquired more than our fair share of bookish wisdom rather than actual working knowledge of anything. This is one of the reasons we are afraid to venture into dark waters for the fear of the unknown. Books may teach us to flap our hands & legs and hold our breath to swim but reality is much more difficult, especially when one is taking baby steps!

For decades there has been debate on whether academics are the right people to teach entrepreneurship and if, in fact, it is something which can be learnt. Some argue the only way these skills can be taught is by entrepreneurs themselves dissecting their successes and failures and sharing real-world, practical experience. Others say entrepreneurship cannot be taught; that successful entrepreneurs have distinct traits which are innate, and that certain people are hard-wired to see opportunities and pursue them through new and innovative means.

A course on entrepreneurship for high school students has become the need of the hour to empower students to think out-of-the-box, look at unconventional ways for problem-solving and identify needs that have not been met, says Husien Dohadwalla.

Schools should accommodate a more practical method of education so that children will not be afraid to try what they want as they get older. For the seeds of ideas to germinate, a lot of effort, motivation and sacrifice is needed. While growing up, a young adult spends about 70% of his or her time in school, where teachers and peers have the power to make or break them. Therefore, it is very important for schools to realize this and groom each student with utmost care and responsibility.

Practical schooling approach will aid students from all socio-economic backgrounds because it helps cultivate unconventional talents and skills. Early exposure to an environment that hones their penchant for innovation plays an important role in developing the characteristics that are critical to become successful business magnates.

Students will develop analytical skills and core competencies which will help them become future tycoons. They will also develop practical skills like identifying business opportunities, making business plans, applying and coordinating the business growth.

Within our education system, entrepreneurship should be transversal competent. By developing a common description of entrepreneurship as a competence, one can fill in the gap between the world of education and the professional world.

Keeping these factors in mind, ENTREPRENEUR VISION program designed by ICCE is the need of the hour. This program will aid participants to understand a practical approach towards Entrepreneurship and create a better future for nation.