In visiting the third world, we often learn something about ourselves. We might see that some people drive on the left side of the road, and often have roundabouts instead of intersections. Hospitals might be closed on weekends. We might learn that where our western culture tends toward dualism, wholism might often be a better worldview. The different environment often gives us a refreshing view on our own problems back at home.
The nature of entrepreneurship, for example. Ernesto Sirolli has seen about 40,000 third-world small, localized businesses come to life, and relates some simple lessons in a recent TED Talk.
“When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. In this funny and impassioned talk, he proposes that the first step is to listen to the people you’re trying to help, and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit. His advice on what works will help any entrepreneur.”
Entrepreneurs never attended Sirolli’s public meetings, they had to seek him out, and meet one-on-one. He listens to their idea for business. His clients are not the jack-of-all trades, and planning is the kiss of death to these entrepreneurs. Sirolli sees three essential ingredients to his helping their entrepreneurial success:
2) His passionate service, and
3) Seeing they cover product, marketing, and financial requirements– “we” not “me.”
Entrepreneurship and working freelance are two different things, and mixing the two is a mistake, according to Sirolli.