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The definition of entrepreneurship is a process through which individuals identify opportunities, allocate resources, and create value.Â
The book defines entrepreneurship as "the creation of values, the process of starting or growing a new profit-making business, the process of providing a new product or service, and the intentional creation of value through organization by an individual contributor or a small group of partners.
1.2 What is an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur can be defined as "an innovator of business enterprise who recognizes opportunities to introduce a new product, a new process or an improved organization, and who raises the necessary money, assembles the factors for production and organizes an operation to exploit the opportunity."
As defined the entrepreneurs should have the talent in seeing the opportunities and converting them into profit making businesses. Some people are naturally entrepreneurial while some take risks and work hard to become a successful entrepreneur.
Otara Del is the founder of ODEL, the chain of retail outlets in Sri Lanka. The name ODEL is a combination of her first name 'Otara' with the middle name 'Del'. She started her entrepreneurial business by buying factory excesses and selling wholesale and then the first retail store was set up at Dickman's Road, Colombo in 1989 and later on after realizing the increasing growth of the ODEL brand she expanded the outlet into a chain of nine outlets. The Dickman's Road outlet is the main outlet with ODEL Unlimited and Otara describes it as a mini-mall, an experience and a lifestyle store. It provides an international experience in your own country. The unique architecture with the latest fashions and accessories attract customers as well as many foreign visitors. She is also socially responsible in her activities which are stated at the appendix 1.
Otara is a novice entrepreneur who had no prior business ownership experience. And started the business in small, with her own savings and personal assets.
The vision of Otara
As an entrepreneur her vision was to build a world-class department store for the region. And she wanted ODEL to be a leader in fashion with change with the time and also the products most suit Sri Lankan tastes and the local climates. Her achievements show how dedicated she was to fulfil her vision. Her achievements are at the appendix 2.
Entrepreneurial process of Otara Del
Exploring the entrepreneurial context to Identify opportunities and competitive advantages
It is an important for an entrepreneur to explore the entrepreneurial context to identify opportunities and the possible competitive advantages to continue in starting and managing the venture. Contextual issues can arise from today's economy, legal factors, the changing world of work and corporate social responsibilities. An important factor in the fashion industry is to keep updated of the latest trends in the market, so as a successful entrepreneur Otara gathered all the information of international trends through reading, watching media and previews of fashion worldwide and through overseas travelling. This helped Otara to set up Odel Unlimited a stylish, trendy, classy, international and a sophisticated place for the local and international customers. So Otara has contributed to increase in globalisation in Sri Lanka.
Otara was very successful in exploring the market because from 1989 to date she has expanded her business in line with the changing market trends in the economy, by being creative and innovative in introducing trade marks such as 'backstage', 'Embark' and 'Otone'.
The opportunity of her getting to the retail business was due to the pilling up of factory excesses by export oriented garment industry. This opportunity was unexpected because she entered a new market, created a new brand and was lucky to succeed. On the other hand it is incongruous because she brought a unique concept of promoting international fashion trends among the locals.
The competitive advantage of her entrepreneurial venture is being updated with latest trends, the intangible resources such as the brand name and trade marks, and the high quality products sold.
3.2 Researching the venture feasibility
This is where Otara should be able to gather information about its competitors. ODEL has several competitors, such as Romafo, Glitz and Beverly hills. So it is important to find out the types of products the competitors are offering, how they promote their store, react to new trends, segment the market and what their competitive disadvantages. Otara can get these informations by trade fairs held occasionally in Sri Lanka and also by mystery shoppers. After gathering these informations she have segmented the market and targeted the high class market. And have successfully faced the competition with the competitive advantage of 'quality' products.
As a novice entrepreneur, she started her business in small and was new to the retail industry, so she was funded by her family and friends. This form of financing is not risky because Otara will have a control over the business. Later when she got married to Raju Chandiram, he became her business partner and he invested money to the business.
3.3 How Otara organised her venture
In this process Otara should be concerned about the legal issues arising when conducting a business. When choosing a business name, slogan or a design it is important to do a trademark research and find out whether that name was registered by another company or not. So after choosing the name 'ODEL' she had protected it by registering it and her other trademarks such a s' backstage', 'Otone' and 'Embark' are also protected.
3.4 Organisational structure
Her company has an organic organisational structure. Odel has 12 branches within the country. So it has a wide span of control. Therefore a certain level of decision making will be delegated to other organisational members making the company decentralised. Otara had made the company less formalised, so the employees will be free to do there work in the way they felt was best, this might increase the motivational levels. This type of structure will increase innovations.
(Personality plus - Otara Chandiram)
4.0 Gulam Noon
Sir Gulam Noon is the Chairman of Noon Products Ltd, Managing director of Bombay Halwa Ltd, Director of Taj International Hotels Ltd and the Director of Obydon Ltd. He was born in India, where he started his career at the age of 17 in managing the family business, Royal Sweets. In 1960s he came to England to start the Royal Sweets factory in West London. In 1980 he went to New York to start on with
the bulk manufacturing of Indian Frozen food. In 1984 he retuned to England to improve the Royal sweets business and later on in 1988 he began Noon Products plc.
Gulam is a habitual entrepreneur who had prior business ownership experience. His achievements as an entrepreneur are at the appendix 3.
The vision of Gulam Noon
His vision was to cater to the high market in London in order to expand its business within a short period. And step by step he was succeeded with his goal. From the first order from Birds Eye his staff was increased to 70 and within 14years the staff of Noon products was 800, the turn over was £105m by 2005.
Entrepreneurial process of Gulam Noon
5.1 Exploring the entrepreneurial context to identify opportunities and competitive advantage
Gulam had faced the new challenge by exploring the British market for Indian food and later on in New York he carried a research of manufacturing chilled and frozen food. He was also socially responsible to the external environment which gave him a good reputation. The CSR activities are at Appendix 4.
The experience he received from the family business helped him to expand his business in London. The boost in the market for Indian sweets due to the increase in Indian immigrants was the main opportunity for him to launch the Bombay Halwa Ltd. And in 1985 he aimed the British by getting into the frozen and chilled food market which opened the opportunity for him to launch the Noon products ltd.
As per the definition of entrepreneurship we can see how Gulam is successful in expanding and promoting his business in a Europe country and growing the business into a well profit-making company.
5.2 How Gulam Noon research the venture feasibility
He was targeting at two segments, Indian immigrants wan British public with frozen food. Gulam is an experienced person having knowledge about the Indian market, but he must gather information about the competitors engaged in frozen food, information such as pricing strategies, quality of the foods and how they handle marketing and distributing. Gulam had got these information from past employees, suppliers and distributors of the competitors. His competitors are Natco and Mahavir food products.
Gulam came to London with £50 and started work in the construction sector. And since he had family business back home he did not find and financial difficulty. In 1995 he had a partnership with WF foods, but he bought the shares back, doubled the business and sold it to Kerry food. He even bought the partners of Bombay Halwa Ltd. Therefore he had the advantage of acquire capital from limited partners
(Sir Gulam Noon MBC - Redhotcurry.com)
5.3 Organising the venture
Gulam is also concerned about the legal issues in the business such as employment laws in United Kingdom. And had registered his company names so that there will be less risks in future.
5.4 Organisational structure
Unlike Odel, Gulam's companies have a mechanistic structure because the company is subjected to a high degree of specialisation with economies of scale and equipment. Since both companies are located in one place there will be a narrow span of control and rigidly and tightly controlled, so there is a clear chain of command. And was centralised where decisions can be made only by the founder and the top level executives.
By the above discussion we could identify how Otara Del and Gulam Noon succeeded in establishing and managing their entrepreneurial venture till now. But it is difficult to identify who is the better entrepreneur because entrepreneurial behaviour of a female and a male might vary. They are into different sectors. And Gulam had experience while Otara did not have prior business experience, so likewise both of them performed and achieved their goals with their own unique abilities. But Oatra was innovative and brought out new trends and products to market. Otara is the first entrepreneur in Sri Lanka who introduced the unique concept of bringing international trends to the Sri Lankan market in a very short period.
This assignment also gives an idea of the entrepreneurial process of an individual. It explains the necessity of exploring the context to establish a company and the necessity of identifying the competitive advantages of the business in order to perform and survive in the market. And it also states the importance of legal issues and financial sources of the business.