This is a guest post by my good friend and colleague Gonzalo Velasco, age 22, Director of the Peruvian Institute for Entrepreneurship and an inspiring young entrepreneur.

This post originally ran on the El Peruano site earlier this month.

 

We realize that to continue with the development of our country we must invest in technology, health, infrastructure, education, etc. Many have said, and continue to say : Is that all ? What is missing from this equation? The main problem for us Peruvians, from my perspective, is not a political issue or an economic issue, it is a matter of focus.

“Focus on what?”, you might ask. Well…focus on ourselves…

A good job, health, infrastructure, technology and acceptable education are all positive factors, but they alone do not lead individuals to personal success. Even worse, those that expect that these variables will ensure the improvement of one’s life, and rely solely on them, fail and fall into the cycle of blaming their fate on our governments, our own families, everyone but ourselves.  From this condition emerges the secret of true development, personal and collective…the most important force in our society, the change agent: the entrepreneur.

An entrepreneur is not simply someone who creates a company, someone whom we thank for investing in our country.  An entrepreneur,  in my opinion -and I summarize in this way, is someone who has a dream…a life project. An entrepreneur is someone who has made the the decision to reach out, to take action and to achieve their dream. How many young people in Peru are clear about what it is that they want to achieve in life ? Most will certainly answer:  a family, a good job, property, good friends, etc., but that’s not the dream that I raise in this article.  The dream I discuss is that idea which becomes an engine in your mind and fills you with the adrenaline that keeps you awake at night pondering how to achieve it.

The grand, difficult dream is the engine of humanity, and fuels us as individuals. Without the motivation of that dream, none of these variables will make a real difference.

Our youth are mostly devoid of that dream. Our society teaches us to be realistic and that we should all follow the same pattern of life:  personal development, fun and activities to achieve “success.” There are people younger than 20 years who are “living dead” and people aged 80 or more years filled with vitality and energy, with hopes, dreams.

All youth must know that they can do it, and they must proceed with conviction. This is the first step for an entrepreneur, finding a dream worth fighting for.  Next begins the longest part of the  challenge, persistence in overcoming those obstacles that stand  in the way and finally reaching the goal.

For success in a traditional vocation, the road is essentially clear, and most know well how to best prepare for it. For entrepreneurial success, on the other hand, there is much less of a road map.  What type of business shall I pursue ? How do I obtain financing ? With whom shall I associate ? What if I fail ? What should I know before I start ? These are some of the questions that pass through the minds of young entrepreneurs, and continue to surface along the entrepreneurial journey.

The first thing an entrepreneur must do is identify the entrepreneurial dream.  Next he or she must develop skills to run the project, such as: organization, marketing, sales, creativity, leadership, and many other skills required to compete in the business world.

The skill that I consider most important is the ability to learn. If you begin your journey questioning whether or not you might fail, you must let go of this fear.  Even if you encounter failures along the way,  you learn and improve with each failure,  The important thing is to observe and  to learn something new every day, sale after sale, failure after failure.  If you do this, you will notice the continued improvements and achievements.

While it is a great challenge to achieve business success at a young age, many have done so.  One should make sure to pursue a goal about which they are truly passionate, otherwise, he or she will not have the willpower and drive to face the difficulties which they will face.  Achieving entrepreneurial success at a young age is difficult, but entirely possible.

Whether or not to develop a business plan depends on each entrepreneur’s specific circumstances, but if external financing is required, it may come through investors, contests, national and international cooperation or even from friends.  This type of financing will give strength to your vision.

The national ecosystem of entrepreneurship in Peru is in a period of gestation. Many initiatives are being launched and many young entrepreneurs are gaining attention for their achievements.  Over time we will continue to work hard to consolidate and increase enterprise development through a much needed entrepreneurial approach in the schools, universities, municipalities and at the  government level. With this continued forward driving force , it will not be long before our country achieves the dream of development and better quality of life for all.

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  1. Erica Nicole says:

    Excellent point of view. In terms of skill sets, learning is an absolute essential element that is often over-looked. Successful entrepreneurs are continually in a flux of ideation, iteration and execution. Amongst all of this is “rapid learning” which then should translate into execution (testing & refinement) – key to any great endeavor! Great post … very insightful.

  2. Mr Gonzalo Velasco! This discussion is really inspiring, it is the light i have been looking for my whole life as a Small Business owner. Thank You.

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