Entrepreneurs from Natural Disasters/ Pandemics

May 27, 2020 2 By David Gichuhi

It is important to have a deeper understanding of how natural disasters can influence entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs’ behaviors and intentions.

Oxford Dictionary defines Entrepreneurship as “the activity of making money by starting or running businesses, especially when this involves taking financial risks; the ability to do this. The reforms are designed to encourage entrepreneurship and promote business and investment.”

Value– This article tries to illustrate that natural disasters/ pandemics such as COVID-19 (Corona Virus) can and do create opportunities for entrepreneurial behavior even as they generate powerful and sweeping negative effects on social economic systems.

Conceptual Background: Natural Disasters- “Impact of an extreme natural event on an exposed vulnerable society” (Machler, 2003). When the impact of a given natural disaster exceeds the capacity of the affected region to cope or to respond such that international assistance is needed, then this nears the definition of a full-blown natural disaster.

Kenya currently has been receiving Billions of shillings in aids from donors and loans from world bodies such as The World Bank and IMF to cushion the economy from COVID-19 impact.

A debate has lasted long enough as to whether “Entrepreneurs are made or born.” My take on this is that entrepreneurs are made and not born.

Theories and studies are there to support this argument such as “Are entrepreneurs made or born, The influence of personality.” (M.I. Lopez-Nunez, S. Rubio- Valdehita & E.M Diaz- Ramiro, 2020) and our very own (Fanya Mambo Kinituthia, 2020) who explained how he bought eggs from a BMW, onions from a Mercedes Benz and milk from a prado.

With job losses, salary cuts and inability to secure gainful employment, it is correct to say that COVID-19 pandemic on the flip side will generate entrepreneurs and some of the strongest the world has ever seen for that matter.

Yes, employers should be ready to lose some of their best brains to entrepreneurship, those in entrepreneurship must be ready for stiff competition from these best brains who are innovative and hungry for success. Yes, hungry for success and to top it up, they are sharp, well educated, well connected, eloquent, with good managerial skills and smartly dressed.

Writer is the Managing Partner, Apt Business Consultants