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Just like any other person, I think I have enough dreams, desires and creativity that can lead me to be an entrepreneur. In the development level of my life, I have had too many constraints to keep my creativity at the highest level possible and to work on my desires. Right from my childhood, I have grown with my best entrepreneurial role model so far – my dad. Owning a coffee shop, I learned, from an early age, the dealings of a business and what it means to serve customers. As a result, I have always been confident to take on ambitious goals and big risks. For instance, back in high school, I would use my upkeep stipend to buy pairs of school socks then sell them to classmates. This represented a huge risk because in case I did not sell any pairs of socks, I would go without upkeep money the whole semester. I would take the risk and sell the pairs of socks, making more money than I could if I did not take any risk. I have also developed a habit of taking creative approaches to problem-solving. For instance, as a freshman in high school, my best friend lost his mother and therefore we had to raise funds and assist him with the thinks he lacked. Instead of raising the funds manually through a physical campaign, I came up with an idea to develop a small website through which we could channel out the campaign and raise funds, even from outsiders. The website made it easier and faster to raise the funds. By creating the website, I demonstrated by the ability to adapt to situations can be resourceful in unexpected situations – all which are good entrepreneurial skills.
Entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation are believed to be three interrelated concepts that are not only helpful to an individual but also to the society at large. First, creativity denotes how one thinks of new things to come up with new ideas while discovering unique ways of solving problems and identifying opportunities (Chen, 2018). On the other hand, according to Ahlstrom et al (2018), innovation is a personal trait that entails one’s ability to do new things, solve problems through creative solutions and seize the opportunity to enhance and enrich other people’s lives. That said, entrepreneurship is a combination of creativity and innovation because it entails creating some value in the marketplace.
Having explored the definitions of creativity and innovation, and resolved that entrepreneurship is a sum of the two, it is quite evident that the three concepts can play a significant role in contributing to the well-being of the society. Indeed, scholars have attempted to study the role of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation in promoting the societal wellbeing and made several discoveries that are worth noting.
The current era of rapidly changing technological advancement has significantly changed society’s workforce. Singh & Gaur (2018) observed that blue-collar manufacturing jobs are on a rapid decline while the other kinds of jobs are just not enough for everybody. The results have been the disappearance of jobs such as elevator attendants, switchboard operators and even film projectionists.
However, with creativity and innovation, entrepreneurs are in the lookout for these developments and work tirelessly to fill these voids (Garud et al, 2018). They acknowledge the losses and negative impacts caused by some elements of technology but see opportunities in the new era. As a result, entrepreneurs innovate by creating new products and services that advance what technology has made possible. A typical example is that of Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. former Chief Executive officer who knew that people like music and that they would like their own personal collection of music to carry along, thereby developing the infamous iPod. Upon selling millions of iPods, Apple went ahead to develop several related products (Naranjo-Valencia et al, 2018; Chen, 2018).
Steve Job’s example highlight that entrepreneurs do not just stop after developing one successful product. Rather, they innovate more related products and grow their market share by developing new markets for new and existing products. In the process, according to Boone et al (2019), they bring several benefits to the society by creating more job opportunities.
Not everyone would like to pay high hotel prices. Alternatively, some people would also like to make some money by renting out their rooms, cottages or homes. The entrepreneurs who innovated Airbnb saw this opportunity and developed the right technology to fill this gap (Goyal et al 2020). Today, Airbnb matches homeowners with people seeking short-term accommodation. Currently, Airbnb has over 800,000 listed properties spread out in 34,000 cities. This illustrates how entrepreneurs identify consumer needs and satisfy them.
Entrepreneurship has been hailed as a significant source of employment today. Whenever they start a new business, they require employees. No wonder, Bu & Cuervo-Cazurra (2020) estimated that since the great depression, entrepreneurship has created at least 62% of new jobs. Considering the emergence of the internet, it has created lots of advantages in terms of communication and automation of most business functions. But it has also created other problems such as cyber-attacks that the society must deal with. Through cyber-attacks, criminals steal money, information and identity (Khajeheian, 2017; Garud et al, 2018). However, in response, entrepreneurs who own software companies have created mobile applications that detect and protect against cyber-attacks (Hilson & Ferreira, 2017).
While the idea was initially a new one, it has spread all over the world and many competitors today engage in the business of creating and selling similar products. This means that an entire industry has emerged from cyber-attacks, providing job opportunities for skilled software developers. According to Hoque et al (2017) and Ahlstrom et al (2018), employees in these new industries have a livelihood as a result of entrepreneurs’ creativity and innovativeness. Furthermore, the workers spend their salary income on other businesses in other industries, creating more employment opportunities in those industries too. Ultimately, the quality of life of employees and people around them improve.
Entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity have also raised the living standards of people in society. As they go through the process of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs identify a need and use their creativity and innovativeness to find solutions for those needs (Lounsbury et al, 2019). When they start a new business, according to Ratten & Ferreira (2017), they hire workers who earn an income, which they spend within the community. This expenditure creates wealth for the population and raises everyone’s living standards.
Economists (e.g. Ellis et al, 2019) have conducted studies showing that an increase in productivity improves the living standards of the relevant population. The entrepreneurial process contributes to higher levels of productivity by using more efficient technology and creating new or improved products or services (Gonzalez et al, 2020). Consequently, society finds more superior and improved ways of doing things. Furthermore, through innovation and creativity, employees become more efficient, leading to an increase in profits and a decrease in costs. Ultimately, the economy grows stronger and people’s lives improve. When a company develops a better product or service, its competitors must improve their game, or they risk going out of business (Borowiecki & Makieła, 2019). Gillespie et al (2019) observe that the increased competition forces everyone to become more efficient and better at what they do. In short, people become more productive and enjoy higher standards of living.
Economic growth is one of the most significant aspirations of any society. Ahlstrom et al (2018) argued that any new business adds more wealth to the economy, especially because entrepreneurs spend their money to start the businesses. Also, investors and lenders put their money into businesses to promote the success of the businesses. Upon making profits, the businesses and its employees pay taxes, which helps the government to deliver public services to society (Chen, 2018).
Apart from economic benefit, entrepreneurship also contributes to social benefits to society. Singh & Gaur (2018) asserted that entrepreneurs develop profitable businesses that solve various social problems such as hunger, financial illiteracy, poor health and lack of education. For example, the earlier creators of computer and the internet did not only want to make profits but also to give the society access to information and enable them to communicate.
In the process of creating new companies, entrepreneurs also affect social changes. For example, apart from building a steel business empire, Andrew Carnegie also invested in a system of public libraries to help the local communities. He went further and developed a formula that combined funds from his charity foundation and public funds to contribute to the building of such libraries. Over the 36 years of his company’s operations, the initiative has helped to build at least 2500 public libraries (Garud et al, 2018).
The social-impact businesses such as that of Andrew Carnegie are also known as ‘base of the pyramid’, which refers to the creation of businesses that target to benefit most people with lower economic status. According to Ahlstrom et al (2018), the main objective of such a business is to find new and innovative ways of improving the living standards of the society.
For a long time, university students have experienced problems with regards to consumer financial services. Major Service providers in this industry have been ignoring this market due to perceived risk and lack of better understanding of the market needs. Consequently, a trend has emerged where students receive poor short-term loan services with unfair terms and conditions from currently existing market participants.
In some situations, the students end up losing their valuables to selfish shylocks who take advantage of monopoly to advance cash to students at exorbitant costs, ripping them off their valuables when they delay or fail to make repayments.
The results have been poor services marred with unfair terms and conditions, which are only meant to favour the lender while ignoring the students’ welfare. With shorter repayment periods and high-interest rates, students are left with fewer options to choose from, otherwise, they would languish in hunger and desperation whenever they face financial shortfalls.
This creates a need for a reliable, ethical and legitimate consumer finance service provider with products tailored to the needs and conditions of university students in the UK. Students need a service provider who will understand their timelines, their needs, their preferences and customize the product to the same specifications.
Versicash will be an enterprise involved in only one aspect of the industry- cash advancement to university students on the security of already guaranteed student loan. We will establish an online platform where students will be able to log in, complete a loan application process and get cash advance immediately.
Versicash.com is a payday lender set up specifically to meet student’s cash needs. We are an online platform that offers quick loans to university students against income from future student payments such as SAAS loan, NHS bursary and Student Finance Loan. We solely exist to meet the students' cash needs whenever they are out of cash long before these disbursements or during emergencies – by making cash advancements to them for a refund with interest in the next disbursement after application and award of student finance loan.
We will only give cash advance to those receiving full loan disbursements from the respective government agencies. The cash advance will not exceed 30% of the student’s upkeep and other expenditures allocations from the agencies. Our interest rates will not exceed 7% a month and the loan period will be a maximum of 3 months with a 10-day grace period.
We aim to be a unique brand of short-term payday loans provider. Our pricing, loan terms, ethical safeguards and procedures are to be way different from any other payday loan companies in the UK. Our loans are intended to have deeper interest caps and no hidden fees thereby making us the best option for university and college students looking for instant cheap loans.
Versicash.com has been developed out of both primary and secondary research. Based on primary research, the company founder is a University student at the Sunderland Business School who came up with the idea in protest of unethical companies that offer expensive payday loans to students. After getting into trouble with a payday lender and owing too much and realizing that similar problems were faced by other colleagues, the idea of Versicash.com was born.
Also, versicash.com is based on solid secondary research. Versicash is meant to create solutions to a market segment mostly ignored by industry players due to its perceived risk. University students are among the groups of people in the society often faced by financial challenges (Tembo et al, 2017). With government remittances only coming periodically (i.e. after three months), the students find it hard to meet some of the most essential needs that occur on a monthly basis (Aceijas et al, 2017). We are meant to venture into a risky but very lucrative business. The perceived risk will be prohibitive to most potential competitors and this will be an opportunity to increase market share. Being the first market entrant, we will strive to create entry barriers to keep competitors at bay.
Originally, Versicash’s target market will be Sunderland Business School students receiving SAAS loan, NHS bursary and Student Finance Loan. The expansion to other universities will not take more than two years. This market is large enough, with an estimate of 20,000 new students receiving full SAAS loan, NHS bursary and Student Finance Loan disbursement every semester. This group of students face various financial challenges while on the session and hence cannot fully meet their basic needs. We believe this product will be right in time to save them from the wrath of hunger and desperations they face in school due to cash shortfalls.
Versicash will focus on developing a strong web presence as its major marketing strategy. The company’s website will be its main point of interaction with potential customers as well as other stakeholders. Moreover, the website with being branded with the company’s mission, vision and more importantly, a call to action. Through the website, the company will syndicate various pieces of information regarding its products to ensure effective content management. To further personalize its marketing campaign the company will use text messaging strategy, whereby potential consumers will receive marketing messages.
Apart from the website, the company will also adopt a comprehensive social media marketing strategy on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Using word ads and google ads, the company will promote its brand across the internet, with an aim of making it a household brand for university students.
The company will have a team of experienced personnel to drive its operations. Some of the most important people who will be sought by the start-up will be a chief executive officer, a commercial director, a chief financial officer, head of operations and two junior staffs.
The company’s operations will be organized based on the Business Model Canvas (Sparviero, 2019). For instance, in terms of value proposition, Versicash’s management team intends to employ the most efficient technological tools in executing its operations. All our loan application processes will be online including the signing of contracts and applicant’s personal details verification. This will ease the entire process thereby saving our clients’ time and resources due to resultant reduction in paperwork.
Our automated operations are meant to reduce the overall costs of and pass that on to our clients, thereby receiving the loans at very low costs. Our monthly rates are intended to be 6%, which is lower than what is currently charged by potential competitors. We will also have no hidden charges or fees, delivering the most competitive prices in the market.
Simplicity is in our DNA; we intend to make the entire process of applying and disbursing the cash as simple as possible. Loan application processes are known to be tiresome and too much detailed, we intend to demystify this notion and establish a very simple and interactive process enabling our instant cash instant.
Versicash will operate as a separate legal entity under the Company’s Act 2006. It will be a registered UK online money lending platform. Its head offices will be at a designated location in Sunderland. The company will seek certification and be regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority before beginning operations. Nonetheless, a modest website shall be created and a phone line for independent communication.
The company’s main financial strategy will be to achieve rapid growth of subscribers. Many loan applicants will translate into greater revenues and probability. The amount of loan advances is expected to increase from more than 100,000 pounds to more 500,000 pounds in the third year of operation. Furthermore, the profits within the first three years will be reinvested for expansion.
The most eminent risk for the business is loan default. To mitigate this risk, the company will engage in a comprehensive screening procedure to ensure that the student can repay the loan. While the company’s unique selling point is its leniency to loan applicants, the company will leverage technology to minimize loan default. For instance, after confirming that the applicant is a UK citizen, has a UK bank account, a registered university student and a recipient of any of the three sources of student funding, the company will use a financial technology system called continuous payment authority, which lets the company collect the loan repayment amount from the customer’s debit card without them having to do anything. This will enable the company to seamlessly recover the loan.
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