Make Your Mark: Encouraging Ethical Entrepreneurship In Developing Countries

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It takes one week to register a business in Botswana compared to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa where it will only take you three days.  Many entrepreneurs in developing countries (e.g. Botswana) face challenges in opening their businesses, which is why unethical business practices exist.  In addition, entrepreneurial education is insufficient in these countries.  If you’re business savvy but also want the world to be a better place, volunteer to be guides of entrepreneurs in developing countries so that they can practice ethical entrepreneurship.

Factors affecting entrepreneurship in developing countries

The most obvious factor that affects entrepreneurs in developing countries is the lack of capital.  Most individuals in these countries have limited savings and often do not have sufficient capital to start their own business. As such, they turn to external financing so that they can start their business. Even though they may want to borrow money from banks, chances are they won’t get approved for loans due to their limited income. As a result, they turn to informal sources of money and accept paying high-interest rates.

Governments of developing countries also have stricter requirements when it comes to opening new businesses. In New Zealand, it takes only one day to start a business while it takes 48 days in Botswana. Government relations are also crucial for businesses because most business opportunities involving lots of money are in the world of politics.  Corruption in the government is more likely to influence entrepreneurial activities in the country.  These challenges influence entrepreneurs in developing countries to have unethical practices such as bribing government officials to have faster results or to remove the benefits of employees just to save money.

How mentoring could help entrepreneurs in developing countries

Mentoring could be helpful for entrepreneurs in developing countries as mentors could encourage them to practice ethical entrepreneurship. Understanding the context of entrepreneurs in developing countries is needed to be able to guide them.  One of the challenges they face is the financial aspect of their lives, so it would be better for the mentor to be knowledgeable about the different ways that start-ups in a developing country can get funding to boost their initial capital. Some governments of developed countries such as the Netherlands offer help to owners of small businesses to get access to microcredit.

Governments work differently from one country to another, which is why it is vital to conduct research about how governments in developing countries usually process business applications of entrepreneurs.  Help new businessmen to start their own businesses by guiding them in each step of their business application. Mentors could also guide entrepreneurs to realize the value of ethical business practices in the long run.

Many would say that ethics and business do not go together.  But if we want to have a world that values sustainability and good relations, ethical entrepreneurship is the answer.  Help your peers in developing countries to succeed by becoming their mentors. To paraphrase the words of John F. Kennedy, ask not what the world can do for you, ask what you can do for the world.

Written by Jane Kitson.

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