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"Our lives depend on entrepreneurship."

Gustavo Pego Reigosa, director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives of the University of Navarra

FotoManuelCastells/Gustavo Pego

22 | 04 | 2021

Over the past year, life has given us a new opportunity to reorder our priorities as individuals and as a society. We have become aware of our weakness, that we are not masters of anything and that we dominate the world much less than we thought we did.

Many of us have looked, with even more admiration, at science and industry. And we have also perceived with uneasiness the lack of management capacity in complex circumstances with high uncertainty(with VUCA characteristics: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity), as well as the limitations in our capacity of teamwork with people of different profiles and professional and responsibility levels. Now more than ever it seems essential to bet intensively on a robust professional training and training .

World Entrepreneurship Day (16 April) is a perfect excuse to thank and acknowledge the enormous effort of business people, entrepreneurs and investors who face courageous and risky decisions, taking risks and generating opportunities.

With regard to investors, it is important to note that a significant part of the financing that supports entrepreneurial activity, especially in the riskier stages, comes from the public sector. For example, the European SME Instrument program of Horizon 2020 alone was endowed with 2.7 billion euros. Most of this money was used to finance start-ups whose proposal value was based on know-how generated in Universities, Technology Centers or research institutes which, in turn, substantially finance their research activity with public money. Moreover, according to the European Court of Auditors, the share of public funds in European venture capital funds in the three-year period 2016-18 was 5.9 billion euros. This is a small sample of how we citizens accompany, in the distance and indirectly, the ventures that flourish in our environment.

Many of us who accompany entrepreneurs more closely have a different perspective to theirs. We do not live and suffer the day-to-day as realistically as they do, but we see it very closely, suffering almost as if we were co-pilots of their projects.

One of the most famous co-drivers in motorsport was Luis Moya: a singer of curves and speeds with a mellow accent. In 1998, the memorable Moya accompanied Carlos Sainz in that fateful last test of the Rallye of England, when 500 meters before the goal the car of the man who was to become world champion stopped - Carlos, start it, for God's sake! - A defective connecting rod (which meant 0.15% in terms of the car's cost), had truncated that world championship for what is considered the best Spanish rally driver in history. A defective connecting rod! The connecting rod is a basic element for converting the longitudinal movement of the piston into a crankshaft rotation. A robust element, very studied, very well known, that exceptionally breaks, because it is known to be essential. That was an accident that could hardly have been foreseen.

However, in the entrepreneurial process, how many times are the same mistakes made? How many times have we seen confident attitudes in the face of an obvious lack of knowledge of the market or an unbalanced entrepreneurial team? Or a poor forecast of the Bursar's Office and/or excessive fixed costs? Or excessive optimism in estimating revenues? Or simply believing that the core topic is the technology and that it sells itself?

It could also be asked whether these repeated errors could be reduced if the rigour of the methodologies and procedures applied were introduced, similar to those in the automobile or aeronautical sectors, among others.

In commercial aviation, maintenance programmes, procedures and checklists are carried out as if every day were the first, always taking into account the learning from previous mistakes and accidents. Because our lives depend on it. Because a failure can be a tragedy. And isn't our life in innovation and entrepreneurship?

Let us hope that, just as risk awareness has made air transport the safest form of transport, the awareness that our future will be based on innovation and entrepreneurship will make the entrepreneurial process increasingly efficient in terms of return on investment and generation of economic activity . I would like to take this opportunity to wish all entrepreneurs and all the people and institutions that support them in one way or another the best of luck.

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