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Growth Brings Excitement, Trepidation For Small Entrepreneurs Worldwide

Oct. 31, 2011

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Dr. Van Gray is talking to a group of entrepreneurs in Rwanda. He's using Coke as an example to help them see that good businesses find ways to meet the needs of their customers. A simple concept? Perhaps. But in a world where most business is random and dictated by just getting by, that relationship is not always put into practice.

Craig is a western businessman who started a plumbing business in Rwanda. He says that lack of a creative process leads to many entrepreneurs thinking only about the present, rather than developing for the future. This often leads to distrust in business; a majority of people worldwide see businessmen as trying to rip them off. Van Gray and his Baylor colleague Blaine McCormick are trying to change that, a few bottles of Coke and one meeting at a time. The Coke Bottle business classes that started in Honduras and now are spreading elsewhere have garnered a great deal of excitement, as this teaching tool has made new business concepts come alive. If entrepreneurs are going to improve their families' lives, hire new employees, and contribute to a growing business climate, they have to grow. But Gray and McCormick say that's not an idea to which many businesspeople worldwide have given much thought.

Starting with that one bottle of Coke, McCormick and Gray came up with 12 lessons. As they told others of their idea, those people came up with lessons of their own, all designed to help entrepreneurs around the world think critically about their business and their relationships with other business people. But they all come back to growth. How can a businessperson strengthen his or her position? How can they make their business stronger and compete? It's exciting, but it can also be scary. But ultimately, they say, it's necessary.

Tomorrow, when we wrap up this series, we'll look at McCormick and Gray's goals for the lessons beyond impacting individual businesspeople. Prior stories can be heard online at kwbu.org. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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