Institute for Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurial Solutions to the World's Problems

If there is no risk there is no reward


On Thursday, October 3rd, 2013, the Institute for Entrepreneurship gave the John Cabot community an exclusive viewing of William A. Sahlman's webinar on "Entrepreneurial Solutions to the World's Problems." Sahlman, a Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, teaches extensively on the process of entrepreneurial endeavors. Sahlman discussed the six crucial concepts of the entrepreneurial practice: perception of opportunity, access of resource, experimentation, the ability to adapt, consequences of success and failure, and the forces of evil.

Behind any service gap, behind any issue of poverty and behind any issue of human rights, there is potential for change. Every business problem and every crisis is an opportunity for an entrepreneur to create value and a sustainable enterprise. Anyone can conceive an idea but entrepreneurs have a great ability to pivot; they can improve their idea and build it in accordance with the desires of the public. A business idea on its own merit cannot survive if the world is not ready for it.

However, society and culture are disgruntled by change, and even the greatest inventions can be met by heavy resistance. This is why statistics reflect that only three out of five thousand business plans achieve success. A shocking point in case is iBot, a brilliantly engineered product that leveraged Sedgway technology to resolve the handicapped individual's difficulty of climbing stairs, and was subsequently discontinued due to inadequate medical funding policies. The case is one of many that reveal the reality of business failure. Despite this real-world hurdle, Sahlman shares the secret formula of successful businesses: an entrepreneur must scale aspirations in social enterprise to have an impact within the community, and pair these great ideas with outstanding human capital.

The John Cabot community found the webinar to be "thought-provoking," as stated by a student in attendance, Irma Zervens. Students and aspiring entrepreneurs alike were enlightened on the risks and rewards of social enterprise. Another student, John Ryan expressed, "I would like to meet him (William A. Sahlman) one on one and talk about my thoughts and innovative ideas for future businesses."