Entrepreneurship provides small businesses with the ability to discover new business opportunities (Omisakin et al. 2016). Individuals decide to discover, evaluate, and exploit these opportunities because of different supportive factors. One of the individual conditions that determines entrepreneurial engagement is an entrepreneurial passion which plays a great role in the entrepreneurial process of discovering and exploiting profitable opportunities. Even if passion has a great impact on entrepreneurial engagement; it may not be successful without consideration of both the internal resources and external environment. Therefore, entrepreneurial passion is backed by the individual, institutional, and environmental conditions in successfully improving small firm owners/managers’ entrepreneurial engagement. More specifically, the adoption of entrepreneurial activity by small firm owners/managers depends on their passion, which is influenced by entrepreneurial resources, entrepreneurial background, government support and the unpredictability of the environment in which the business is operated.
Ethiopia is one of the developing sub-Saharan African countries in which small firms failed at an early stage. Even though the owners/managers’ engagement in entrepreneurship is not sufficient, the activity of exploring new market ideas, sourcing founding capital, and establishing and developing new products is undertaken by the owners/managers of established firms. That is why passion is important not only to enter a new business but also important for established firms to survive and grow. This interest was practiced by the owners/managers of established firms to grow their enterprises. Passion alone will not make the owners/managers engage in entrepreneurial activity. That is because the presence of human and financial capital, as well as government support, intensify the engagement of firms in entrepreneurship, while the unpredictability of the environment hinders the successful practice of entrepreneurship.
Most owners linked the poor entrepreneurial engagement with inadequate resources, poor marketing and production competencies, poor government support and environmental uncertainty. However, most of these problems can be solved when entrepreneurial commitment is there. In relation to this, individuals who engaged in entrepreneurial activity overcome these problems by continuously discovering and exploiting new business opportunities to grow their business, by involving in evaluating and exploiting opportunities to develop new products/services, by engaging in discovering, evaluating and exploiting new way of doing things to grow their enterprise, by engaging in identifying and differentiating their products from competitors, and by building a culture that encourages teams to work.
The entrepreneurial resources such as human and financial capital help to engage in discovering, evaluating, and exploiting business opportunities. That means financial affluent individuals are more likely to engage in entrepreneurial activity than firms who lack human and financial capital. When human and capital resources do not exist, it is difficult to turn the internal passion to entrepreneurial practice because it needs financial capital to search for a new market and produce new products. It is not only financial capital, but also human power is needed to innovate a way of doing things , generate a new idea that contributes to product innovation and large market share. Therefore, these resources are highly important in helping small firm owners/managers to exploit new opportunities and expand their business by practicing entrepreneurial activities.
Most owners/managers who are passionate and engage in entrepreneurship have a good entrepreneurial background from their families, are inspired by successful entrepreneurs in the area, or have previous experience in entrepreneurship. The owners/managers that developed experience previously, learned from their family occupation, or from the experience of successful entrepreneurs in the area, are all factors contributing to encouraging owners/managers to engage in entrepreneurship.
Similarly, government support in providing training, credit, working space, and technical advice for established firm owners/managers, possibly help to turn their passion into entrepreneurial activity, while the unpredictability of the environment can prevent firms to involve in entrepreneurial activity. In general, firms that take support from government are more passionate than owners/managers who did not get support from the government. This kind of support actually encourages owners/managers of small firms to be entrepreneurially passionate. Therefore, the owners/managers are successfully engaged in an entrepreneurial activity when the government provides support to them; otherwise, they face difficulty in accessing facilities that motivate them. Conversely, the presence of an unpredictable environment hinders the successful involvement of passionate firms in entrepreneurship because these firms fear the failures in this unpredictable environment. That is the presence of an unpredictable environment also influences the discovery, evaluation, and exploitation of new opportunities by firms.
As a recommendation, the government should expand its scope in developing small firms that contribute to the development of the economy. The policy makers also should improve on the policy of developing small firms by focusing on how to facilitate the access to resources and stabilize the unpredictable environment. The strategy that was developed should be helpful in facilitating a good environment for owners/managers of small firms, by removing unnecessary conditions that hinder the development of small enterprises. Finally, the small business owners/managers who are passionate should look to how to access resources and work with government institutions to transfer their passion to actual practice and engage on entrepreneurial activity since they become more motivated with the existence of resources and government support to engage in entrepreneurship.
Abdella Kosa is a lecturer in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Business Management, Faculty of Urban Development and Engineering, Kotebe Metropolitan University, Ethiopia. He is a young research that published many papers on the subject matter of entrepreneurship, innovation, and strategy among small enterprises. Currently, his research interests lie in the area of entrepreneurship, business model and growth of small enterprises.