Wealth is Dignified



Wealth is dignified. This sentence would probably provoke my otherwise very friendly Track A trainer. For yes, I understand that dignity is intrinsic to the human person. That all humans rich and poor possess dignity, and that it can neither be measured nor taken away. However, my view is quite more pragmatic than that which Charles Maliks proposes in his highly philosophical “Man in the Struggle for Peace” writing, and probably that of my dear trainer. For although human dignity can conceptually be said to be innate for all humans, living a dignified life is only achieved by the acquisition of material adequacy. Money is important, and the way to get it does not require reinventing the wheel. For in the Middle East, we have our own ancient and proud tradition of Entrepreneurship. My purpose of this writing is to spur the interest of the reader in Entrepreneurship by giving broad headlines of how the process goes and outlining some of the issues facing entrepreneurship in the contemporary Middle East.

The first step in the process is to identify a problem. Because for any business to exist, there has to be a problem for someone who is willing to pay money for it to be solved. In this sense, needing a house to live in would be a problem you are willing to pay a construction company to solve for you. Traveling from one country to the other is another example of problems people would be willing to pay others to get them solved. Aside from the obvious problems, there exist less grave problems that people can also make a living by solving for others. Think about the last time you were stuck in a new city not knowing where the good restaurants are.This part of the entrepreneurial process exists abundantly in the Middle East. It would be even safe to say that the region has more problems than anywhere else in the world.

Once you have found your problem and its solution, maybe it is time you start thinking about how you can make money out of it. This is what is known in the business world as a business plan. Basically, it is a document that outlines your vision for your business and how you are planning to generate money out of it. Most entrepreneurs skip this very important part of the process and go directly into the next. The beauty of the business plan is that it pinpoints some of the very expensive mistakes that would otherwise go unnoticed, and that would be too late to fix once you start up your business. Furthermore, if the numbers do not add up on paper, it would be quite naïve to expect them to do so in real life.

Once a sound business plan is in place, it is time that you make use of it. The business plan will be your ticket to go find funding for your idea. Remember, money— or more accurately, cash— is the bloodline of any business. If you have a shortage of it, expect a coma. If you do not have any, expect an assured painful death of your newborn business. Luckily, there are quite a lot of sources of funding that one can pursue. They include personal savings and that of well-informed, voluntarily willing friends and family, venture capitalists, business angels, and banks. Having found a source of funding, you should estimate how much money your new business would require for the first three months to get it up and running, then multiply that by two to get to the real number of how much money you will need to start up.

Be careful to make the mistake of over-confidence: starting up a new business is a colossal task that can consume all your time, money, and effort and maybe still fail at the end. For statistics show that three out of every five new businesses fail within their first year. The number one reason is lack of cash; the number two reason is lack of formal education on business startup. Therefore, if you want to be one of the successful entrepreneurs, you should make sure you have the right type of education in the field of business you are planning on going into before risking your money.


– By Mohammad Gohary, our regional intern at the World Youth Alliance – Middle East.

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