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November 1st: Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging, joins host Anita Campbell. Sponsored by Six Disciplines. Show details.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Entrepreneurism Helps Society
The short post I made a few days ago about religion and entrepreneurism apparently has struck a chord. Thank you for the many wonderful emails, for the comments you left, and for linking to the post.

It's as if entrepreneurs have looked for confirmation that following the path of capitalism is not anti-religious, anti-God or anti-society.

Being self-reliant is not the same as being selfish -- quite the contrary.

In a related vein, I'd like to quote a recent column by Gladys Edmunds in USA Today. She makes the point that "the smallest, most humble entrepreneurial endeavor is honorable and a great contribution to the progress of the human race."

She quotes Booker T. Washington in the following section from the article, which in my view says it all:
"It is easily seen, that if every member of the race should strive to make himself the most indispensable man in his community, and to be successful in business, however humble that business might be, he would contribute much toward smoothing the pathway of his own and future generations." These words were spoken 100 years ago by Booker T. Washington, founder of both The Tuskegee Institute, now known as Tuskegee University, and The National Negro Business League, known today as The National Business League.

I have quoted Washington's statement many times and particularly to people who feel that their small one- and two-person businesses don't count as "real" businesses. Washington realized that slavery had taught American blacks many profitable skills and trades. Things like carpentry, cooking, farming, tailoring and shoemaking were seeds for businesses that could be started at home and with little or no capital. And to utilize those skills to start even the smallest business was both honorable and the right thing to do for the advancement of the race.

The philosophy behind Mr. Washington's words is filled with the entrepreneurial spirit, and the statement is as true today as it was 100 years ago. This message is not only for African Americans but also for all who want self-sufficiency and independence as entrepreneurs.
Read the whole article -- lots of wisdom there, on several different levels.
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