As someone who is skeptical of business academia, it’s surprising to me that the best definition of entrepreneurship I have heard comes from a Harvard Business School professor. But Howard Stevenson defined entrepreneurship perfectly as “the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources currently controlled.” To me, this captures the constant struggle entrepreneurs face to create their vision without knowing exactly where they are going to obtain the resources.
I have met thousands of struggling entrepreneurs over my career. The numbers tell us that most will fail to realize their vision, but they persevere anyway. Only a few will have real success, which to me is measured not by riches but by bringing their vision to life. I can think of no better example of a great entrepreneur than Alan Graham, founder of Austin-based Mobile Loaves & Fishes.
Alan’s vision was to create a way to reintegrate homeless individuals into a community. Until I visited with Alan, I had no understanding of the real problem causing homelessness. I, like many, just assumed that it is driven by deep personal problems leading to substance abuse and the inability or unwillingness to hold a job. As a Christian I wanted to help but didn't know exactly how. Would money or lodging solve the problem? Weren't there charities and governmental programs to help these people?
After spending thirty minutes being educated by Alan, I understood the real problem. Alan has just released his book, Welcome Homeless, which will help more people understand what he taught me. I would encourage everyone to get the book to learn about the true drivers of homelessness and how a great entrepreneur built his vision.
If you are in the Austin area, I am having a reception for Alan at my office on Tuesday, March 21. We would love to have you but have limited space. If you are interested in registering or would like more information, email Elizabeth@khorus.com.