Sharing the wealth

November 15th, 2010 → 3:58 pm @ // No Comments

At the NZ Angel Association conference in Nelson last week, some investors ruefully commented that many of their investments seemed more like charity.  But none complained about the ‘social-good’ element inherent in supporting new entrepreneurs and new businesses.

The challenge

Then, over dinner, a couple of successful investors talked about the money and time they were putting into assisting the poor and disadvantaged (I have a dream and  Jasmine )… and challenged the rest of us to join in.

The reaction of the room was uniformly positive.

I wasn’t surprised, as I knew that many of those present were quietly sharing their wealth already. But it did make me think about values.

What values should an Entrepreneur have?

Do we focus only on creating wealth, and risk having a tier of wealthy people controlling all the resources while most having nothing?  Or, do we focus on sharing the wealth, and risk having the wealth-creators give up (as they did in the Soviet Union for many years)?

I favour a culture which embraces the wealth-creation of entrepreneurs and investors but provides them recognition for what they’ve shared (both money and time) rather than for how much money they’ve made.  So, I was very pleased to see the Angels applauding the good works of their peers, rather than the financial success which allowed them to be so generous.

It’s important to recognise the moment when the entrepreneur finally gets a big payday, after years of effort and risk.  But the measure of the entrepreneur’s character is, “What do they do next?”

It seems to me that more and more successful entrepreneurs and investors are choosing to give back their time and money rather than just retiring to the beach.  We should applaud them for that, and create a society which rewards both wealth-creation and wealth-sharing.

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