Convinced the Jump Start Program recently introduced in The Bahamas is a good jolt to promoting entrepreneurship, Dr. Michael Peters revealed yesterday why this group of free thinking is so important to economic grow-th.

The professor emeritus of marketing and entrepreneurship at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Freeport weekly meeting at the Ruby Swiss Restaurant.
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Dr. Peters revealed a couple of major trends affecting the whole process of entrepreneurship.

But before doing so, he explained that the definition of entrepreneurship is to undertake and pursue opportunities to fulfill needs or wants through innovation while pursuing or starting a business.

The key, Dr. Peters pointed out is the misconception that many have is that entrepreneurs are inventors.

"Not all inventors are entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur is somebody who takes that invention or that innovation, whatever it might be, pursues it and brings it to fruition," he stressed.

The professor, who taught at Athens, Greece for the last six years, noted that people who do what someone else does but does it better are still entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship can involve improving a service or changing a product so it provides more benefit to a customer.

"It's really fulfilling a need that's being unmet," he said.

The professor said some of the ideas he usually relates to people in entrepreneurship programs is to look for their competitor's weakness; determine what their strengths are and what changes are occurring in the lifestyle of consumers.

Another opportunity for entrepreneurs, he added, is determining what resource advantages you have as an entrepreneur over others in the marketplace.

Determining if an opportunity has value is another issue, he said, and requires research that includes reading, observing, talking to people and testing one's ideas on others.

The professor also pointed out that there is no exact mold to fit the profile of a successful entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs, however, involve amily and social risk, he said.

"It is extremely important when you start a business to have the support of your family members," he said.

"...Starting a business involves time away from you rfamily. It's important for family members to understand this. So if there are family members, consult with them, converse with them. Keep them informed."

Cognizant that a lot of entrepreneurs are doomed to fail, Dr. Peters said because of this they are afraid to involve themselves in a business.

"Entrepreneurs are committed to the idea and they are committed to concept. They are driven and they are having fun," he said.

He also advised Rotarians not to become involved in a business as an entrepreneur if it is not something they enjoy.

Entrepreneurs are important to any country and economy.

"They become the future leaders. Their inspiration, their dedication and their work ethic can't be explained by money alone," he said.

"They are very necessary to make an economy grow. Bottom line is, they create jobs."

In fact, according to Dr. Peters, most of the job creation of the data he has seen in the United States during the economic recession have come from entrepreneurs — small businesses.

Referring to the Jump Start Program, the new initiative undertaken by the government to assist entrepreneurs in the downturn in the economy in jumpstarting new and existing businesses, Dr. Peters pointed out that such a program that provides seed money is what is needed.