Impact on Society
The impact of entrepreneurship on society can either be positive or negative, depending on the form of entrepreneurship (productive, non-productive or destructive) that manifests itself in that society.
1. Overcoming Lags
Any society or community develops some patterns slowly which over time solidify and therefore creating developmental lags as it takes time for society to break out of these patterns and adapt to the changing environment. New daring business starters innovatively arouse society out of slumber through new products and services. For example the banking industry in Zimbabwe was outdated and sluggish. There were only five commercial banks in the country in the early 1990s, most of which were characterised by poor service. The entrance of entrepreneurial bankers created a demand for personalised world class service delivery in banking. New forms of banking practices for the convenience of society were introduced e.g. Automated Teller Machines, e-banking, relationship marketing and instore banking. Entrepreneurial bankers assisted in the development, assimilation and dissemination of new forms of technology and innovation within the industry. Competition intensified, resulting in more customer responsiveness. The customers’ right to choice and service was reasserted. As one banking client so aptly stated, “the new banks provided me with a choice to vote with my feet whenever service was unacceptable.” Society had been putting up with unacceptable service quality due to lack of competition. As Peter Drucker states, “Entrepreneurs seek change, respond to it and exploit it as a profit generating opportunity.” Entrepreneurs, either discover or create innovation in order to exploit emerging trends.
Entrepreneurs introduce new products and services when the larger traditional businesses lack either vision or interest in bringing these innovations to the market.
In the Zimbabwean scenario this led to:
· Discovering new distribution channels e.g. Kingdom’s in-store banking brought convenience to both shopping and banking. Both in-store banking and ATMs introduced longer and more flexible banking hours.
· New price strategies – the intense competition resulted in lower service fees and accessibility of banking products. E.g Trust Bank customer visits
· Introducing new technology, e.g. CFX, provided mobile banking which enabled customers to pay their bills from mobile phones. E.g. Trust@ Ease and E-banKing respectively.
· Mass distribution of products. Kingdom and Century created structures through in-store banking that enabled the masses to access banking products.
Entrepreneurial banking therefore provided society with choices, upgraded the technological infrastructure of Zimbabwean banking from an outdated mode to contemporary models.
Entrepreneurs create new technologies, new products and services that increase choices and enrich lives, resulting in societal well-being and increased productivity.