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The Entrepreneurial Spirit Burns Brighter Than Ever

by: Geoff Ficke

During a recent quick business trip to New York City a normal, everyday travel occurrence ignited a recurring observation I enjoy more and more frequently. The Entrepreneurial Spirit is booming in America!

While sitting in a dank Yellow Cab, crawling in the normal snail paced city traffic, I struck up a conversation with my driver. His name was Aquil and he was a native of Pakistan. After the normal chatter I asked Aquil how long he had been driving. “Three years,” he said, “but I am really not here to drive, I am setting up an import/export business”. We talked about his goals and dreams, why he chose America, likes and dislikes, until I reached my destination. I left a business card with Aquil and told him to call if he needed any guidance and to keep me posted on his progress.

Upon leaving the cab I realized, again, that in this brief meeting I had met the heart, soul and future of America. And it has always been so. No other country in the world provides the energy, creativity and resources necessary for its citizen’s, and those from the worldwide Diaspora to make unlimited attempts at the pursuit of opportunity, prosperity and fulfillment.

I enjoy a variant of my chat with Aquil on an ever-increasing basis. The volume of exciting business opportunities, inventions, new products and product enhancement available in the 21st Century marketplace is stunning. While success is not a given result, the opportunity to try is. Real entrepreneurs keep trying, work harder, and do not flee upon hearing the dreaded word: NO! They are inevitably optimistic, positive and see the glass as always more than half-full.

Unexpectedly, I received a call from Aquil about two months after our brief taxi cab meeting. He quickly brought me up to date on his progress. He had incorporated, negotiated an exclusive distribution agreement providing his new business the exclusive rights to distribute a line of artisan crafted, marble tabletop accessories for the United States market. I was able to introduce him to a showroom that has undertaken sales of his beautiful products. He is still driving the cab, but each month he comes closer to being in position to devote all of his time to his new enterprise, and achieving his dream.

One of America’s first great entrepreneurs was Ben Franklin. Today we mainly remember Ben Franklin’s staggering importance as a Founding Father of our nation. Though born into poverty, and a family of 15 children, he achieved great wealth from his inventions and business acumen and retired from commerce at age 42. He devoted the rest of his long life to statesmanship. We still enjoy the benefits of his creativity, publications and ideas, both commercially and politically.

Almost 250 years separate Aquil the cab driver and Ben Franklin. The country and world have changed in ways Ben Franklin might find amusing or alarming. Nevertheless, he would immediately recognize, and be immensely proud of the system he helped create and the road he helped pave for millions of people like Aquil to use for their, and society’s benefit.