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Is Entrepreneurship The Future Of Work?

Is Entrepreneurship The Future Of Work?

I had the pleasure of being a "passion speaker" at the Innovate Work Rockies virtual event yesterday presenting this topic, "Is Entrepreneurship The Future Of Work?" It was a great event and I especially enjoyed listening to all the expert speakers share their debt of knowledge. InnovateWork is a wonderful forum for HR professionals and business leaders looking to connect and learn best practices on how to improve employee happiness and workplace output. 

I'm excited to share my presentation with you here as follows:

Hi good afternoon everyone, I’m Prasanthi Naidoo and I’m the founder of Thank you for the opportunity to present to you on this forum. I’m so excited to be here today!

I’m a mum of two absolutely amazing kids, a wife to a truly remarkable and wonderful husband who supports me in all that I do and encourages me everyday to chase my dreams of being a great entrepreneur.

I hope that all of you are staying safe and well amidst this unprecedented global pandemic COVID-19. We’re based here in Calgary Alberta where we are breaking records in terms of the number of daily confirmed positive coronavirus / covid-19 cases and we are rivalling Canada’s largest province Ontario for first place in terms of the daily number of positive cases reported... Yet we in Alberta have only a third of the population size of Ontario... so things are pretty grim here in Alberta right now… Hence why I thought it would be great to explore how COVID-19 is reshaping and accelerating the “new" future of work.

How is COVID-19 impacting “The Future Of Work?” Let’s take a look at some well documented trends. 

Data from the US Census Bureau show significant growth for high-propensity business applications which sky-rocketed in the third quarter of this year, and continue to grow, highlighting a shift in the US economy towards entrepreneurship and new startups during the pandemic.

As a side note, its worth mentioning that, it was just announced earlier this week that the Word Of The Year for 2020 is “Pandemic

What is Entrepreneurship? Well entrepreneurship is the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.

An article by Jeon et al. (2019) provided by Statistics Canada highlights sharp increases in workers participating in the gig economy. Examples of gig economy workers are everywhere, such as with Uber, Fiverr or even Cherry.Health, where workers have more independence, autonomy & flexibility in their work. 

COVID-19 has effectively accelerated the movement into the gig economy for many workers especially those who value their independence, autonomy and want the flexibility to work on their own terms.

A report by consulting firm McKinsey & Company suggested that due to the nature of their work, physicians are much more suited to working in a gig economy when compared to other vocations. This is because their skillsets are unique and in high demand, allowing physicians to define work on their own terms.

But for many of us and most likely the great majority COVID-19 has forced people into entrepreneurship due to the need for new income sources as a result of record-high long-term unemployment that happened when economies locked down during the first wave of the pandemic and the limited employment opportunities that are currently available when economies have subsequently reopened.

This reminds me of my journey into Entrepreneurship which began pre-covid but I strongly identify with all those people who are feeling like they are now forced into entrepreneurship…

When I qualified as a Chartered Accountant, ACCA, in Dublin Ireland I was placed 3rd in Ireland and 14th in the world, it was a huge milestone & leap in my career…

I was fortunate to have received 5 excellent job offers the next day! I  ceased the opportunity to work in an incredible organization for five years before relocating to Calgary Alberta Canada. 

Upon moving to Calgary it all changed, I applied for numerous jobs and mostly got no response and when I did get a response it went something like “we regret to inform you….

After not having to worry to look for work in Dublin and having several job offers come to me, I now found myself in an incredibly strange and uncomfortable situation in Calgary as a result of applying to numerous job ads unsuccessfully. My confidence definitely took a huge knock and I felt extremely disheartened and even frustrated by the lack of response from employers in Calgary… And even up to today I am still unsure why…. Perhaps it was my name? I don’t know…

However I did not let this keep me down, instead, organically I spotted an opportunity and started matching International Medical Graduates with practice opportunities in Alberta and fast-forward to today I own and operate an international employment website

How Can Companies & The Economy Benefit?

  • People who work across different workplaces are exposed to different workflows and novelties which will bring diversity of perspectives often lacking in a single workplace setting. 
  • Companies will benefit from on demand access to expert talent who are usually in demand, highly sought after and hard to retain full-time.
  • New businesses, also known as startups, are important indicators for the economy because they are a major source of job creation, innovation, and competition.

The trend is toward work democratization, meaning that work comes from many places. Contributions aren’t necessarily embedded in a regular, full-time employment contract. The new work arrangement is based on different kinds of agreements. Since work can be based on cloud-based relationships, it’s a boundary-less work ecosystem that doesn’t depend on an employment agreement to define it. As worker relationships continue to evolve, the agreement between employers and employees takes on many forms, such as, Employment via platforms, Project agreements, Gigs, Freelance contracts, Contest engagement, Contract employment or Tours of duty.

The future of work is not the death of jobs, but the future is an environment we create in which employment alternatives can be created by organizations. 

There are some good examples already where large enterprise companies are changing how they manage their workforces to take advantage of specific talent that would not normally be available to them. One of the best examples I know of is a collaboration between Siemens and Disney. Each of the two companies used the expertise of the talent that resided in the other company to create messages and marketing around hearing aids for children. In this unusual partnership, both entities benefitted from looking outside their own corporate boundaries to find a solution to an opportunity.

The people at Siemens needed to entice kids and parents to consider Siemen’s hearing aids when they’re at the doctor’s office. While Siemens had the technical expertise, they didn’t have the experience in creating messages for children and families. They needed a storyteller who could tell the Siemens story in a way that resonated with children and their parents.

On the other hand, Disney is world-renown for its ability to appeal to children. Disney already has the culture and expertise in storytelling and appealing to young audiences. Instead of hiring a team of storytellers to market hearing aids to a new audience, children, Siemens “borrowed” story tellers from Disney to come up with a great story that would make wearing a hearing aid less clinical and more acceptable to children and their parents. The result was the Disney Kit for Siemens’ hearing aids for children. 

The wonderful thing about the future of work is, if we can provide these sorts of alternatives, we provide an environment in which we can all be very, very creative, we create a world of empowered workers, a world where people get to do the work that they want to do where they want to do it.

Thank You!

Prasanthi Naidoo | Founder |