Humane, Sustainable, and Harmonious Entrepreneurship: Shifting to a More Holistic Perspective of Entrepreneurship

Saturday, August 21, 2021, by Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

Entrepreneurship can be sorted into various sectors of disciplines, each impacting our lives and the world around us in different ways. Alone, each of these practices possesses the power to make long-term, positive change, both in the corporate world and in our communities. However, we must challenge ourselves to push humane entrepreneurship one step further. By integrating these practices and their ideologies, we gain the ability to improve our society in entirely new ways. Intersectionality is vital to humane entrepreneurship, as we cannot practice human-centered entrepreneurship without also taking action to protect our environment and human rights. While we work to combat global issues such as COVID-19, climate change, and inequity, entrepreneurs exist at the forefront of ensuring the health and wellbeing of our communities. By understanding the interconnectedness of these issues, we can adopt a more holistic view of entrepreneurship and actively improve the world with newfound strength in unity.

One of the main objectives of humane entrepreneurship is to produce engaged employees through High-Performance Work Systems (HPWS), which empowers and enables employees to embrace creativity and take innovative risks. Building upon this framework, Dr. Jeff Hornsby, Director of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship Innovation, argues that integrating HPWS with Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) can “generate human and social capital and produce an innovative workplace culture based on such elements as enablement, empowerment, equity, and empathy.” In addition, Human Resource Management (HRM) greatly impacts the human and social capital within a firm, which is the primary source of innovation in a humane company; therefore, HPWS, EO, and HRM combined ultimately build the foundation for a successful humane enterprise. The result is engaged employees working towards a better society for a company they believe in.

As the fundamental goal for humane entrepreneurship is prosperity for our companies and communities on a human level, we must also consider the state of the environment in which we are building these enterprises. Particularly in our post-pandemic society, we are now being afforded the unique opportunity to reconsider what kind of cities, jobs, and entrepreneurship we genuinely need. Sustainable entrepreneurship uses the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 12 as a concrete guideline for tackling interconnected carbon emission footprints, gender equality, and quality education. To uphold these intentions, Professor Analia Pastran, founder and CEO of Smartly Social Entrepreneurship on the SDGs, asserts that we must boost sustainable options, create effective green agendas for the younger generations, and support legislation to provide entrepreneurs the legal framework to implement SDGs. Analyzing SDG 12 in this way, it becomes clear that humane and sustainable entrepreneurship are inherently connected and must work together to create a healthier society.

Considering entrepreneurship and the environment, we need to consider the effects of corporations and MSMEs alike on our planet and communities. Although entrepreneurship can be a strong tool for creating jobs, wealth, and innovation, it can also contribute to environmental pollution and unsafe work environments. The reason for this lies in leaders valuing profit over people and the planet, which points to the importance of educating entrepreneurs on the triple-bottom line. According to Professor David Kirby, co-founder of Harmonious Entrepreneurship Society (HES), “We were put on this planet to look after it. Therefore, we must take care of the human environment, as well as the physical environment.” From this standpoint of compassion, an evident means of protecting both people and the planet is converging economic, sustainable, humane, and social entrepreneurship underneath the umbrella of harmonious entrepreneurship, which is based on the understanding of the planet as one extensive system with many interconnected subsystems.

This intersectionality in entrepreneurship serves as the key for unlocking solutions to the universal issues facing us. By adopting a more holistic view of entrepreneurship, we conclude that no human issue stands alone. In solving problems like climate change and inequity, and advocating for human rights, integrating different entrepreneurial sectors allows us to stand together, stronger and more capable than ever before.

Watch the session below for more on humane entrepreneurship, SDGs, and the benefits of integrating different entrepreneurial approaches.