Saturday, September 12, 2009

The rise of the micro-micropreneurs

It is interesting that of late, there are a significant number of internet-based businesses that are cropping up, and that are run by just setting up a website on an almost freely-available platform, coupled with a little bit of ingenuity and some niche marketing. I must say congratulations to these people who have taken that first step, perhaps a bold one even, to take on this challenge of becoming your own boss. I would like to call them micropreneurs, due to their current small-scale mode of operations, and their sometimes even more-niche target consumers.

In fact, I am myself tempted to take that step too, to become a micropreneur myself. It doesn't help that I am constantly surrounded my innovative people, that somehow or rather, have triggered that innate micropreneur spirit in me! Well I must say I once tried to set up not one, but two such micro-businesses online, only to find out that the business model that I was adopting is not sustainable. Of course it didn't fly, but then again, surprisingly, I don't have any regrets about it at all. In fact it just makes me more determined to relook at my model, and perhaps come out with something that would work, and be sustainable in the near future.

And leading that discussion is the very idea that perhaps, asking students to be micropreneurs could be just the sort of thing that would really encapsulate the very ideals of Applied Learning and Holistic/Integrative Education. It doesn't matter that they might just be starting out by selling bookmarks, or ice cream in the school's fun fair, what matters more is that they are willing to do it, and are able to know the intricacies of how to start a microbusiness, and sustain it over a certain period of time. I do believe that being a micropreneur is an almost perfect platform for us to develop our students to be able to equip them with the necessary skillsets for their very survival in this uncertain future. But I need to disqualify myself with the word 'almost', because, if we are not careful and just allow businesses to grow with the sole concern of just making money, at the expense of values and such, then we could also be leading and teaching them the wrong things (aka values) too. This is where we just have to be more mindful about what the key objectives are when we set off to encourage them to start working on a business. Is it just about making more money, or more about values? It would be nice to have both, but then, sometimes, these are the very shades of grey that I was mentioning earlier in my post, the same ones that would either turn him into a better man (or woman), or just let him astray into the dark side.

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