The director as an entrepreneur

Published on June 30, 2019   17 min
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Hello, I'm Dr. Spinder Dhaliwal. I'm a Reader in Entrepreneurship at the University of Westminster. I'm going to be talking about the attributes of an entrepreneur as a director on a board. So, if you are on a board, you're dealing with volatile, uncertain, and complex situations, and therefore, you need to be able to be open to giving advice on different things. As an entrepreneur, you bring qualities to the board, such as really being a leader, being a negotiator, and being a risk-taker. When there are times of chaos, you see through the chaos, and you become really a 'thought' leader. I'm giving some examples of good entrepreneurs who are role models and can really help you understand how these different attributes can be applied.
In my book, Making a Fortune: Learning from the Asian Phenomenon, I looked at and interviewed several key entrepreneurs who had really made their mark, and they're great role models to really understand what an entrepreneur is, what their role is as a director, and really what the characteristics of an entrepreneur are. We will talk about leaders, risk-takers, and negotiators. We say entrepreneurs need to be persuasive; they have to have a lot of self-confidence. So, I'm going to introduce you to a few people who demonstrate those characteristics.
One of the most interesting entrepreneurs I have interviewed is Surinder Arora. He came from India at the age of 13, struggled to fit in at school, didn't quite fit in, and had aspirations to be a pilot. He lived near Heathrow Airport and was desperate to be a pilot, but instead worked in a fairly lowly position for British Airways. Later on, he became a financial advisor and slowly, slowly he gathered his resources together and started buying up houses on the back road near Heathrow Airport. He, then, built a hotel, which is the Arora International Hotel. This is the first hotel for the crew, so it was only for airline crew people and not for normal people like you and me. This was a fantastic achievement; and it shows his persistence and determination in getting planning permission, and then negotiating with British Airways, the company he used to work for in a lowly position and really getting them to get their crew to use his hotel. He now owns over 12 hotels around the country, and is one of the most respected hoteliers in the country.