Which sector is suited for
the foundation of a Nucleus?
Initially, when business chambers / associations start Group Counselling
through Nuclei, the approach is new and may appear
strange to the target group entrepreneurs. Strangeness, lack of credibility
and entrepreneurs' traditional caution lead to mistrust and prudence.
Consequently the probability is high that they display a certain
reluctance and lack of interest in the new activity. In the
beginning Group Counselling is not a “self-runner”.
The main source that helps to overcome this reluctance
and mistrust are other entrepreneurs, who already participate in a Nucleus and
disseminate their positive experiences. They have a natural
credibility with other entrepreneurs.
Consequently, one should try to create as fast as possible
one, two, three and more positive examples of functioning Nuclei. Success is needed. A
Nucleus, which does not function in the beginning, can easily be taken
as prove against the Nucleus Approach in general. If later on one of
several Nuclei does not work, people do not blame this on the approach
but on other reasons.
years we have seen again and again chambers starting with "wrong"
sectors ending in frustrations. The counsellors ignored the
respective selection criteria or the CEO intervened and gave order to
start with a personally preferred sector without knowing the criteria
How to select promising sectors to start
following rules and selection criteria do not guarantee a success, but
their consideration increases the chance for success and decreases the
probability to fail.
Rule number 1: The
counsellor cannot "create" a Nucleus, only the entrepreneurs can form a
together with the counsellor .
Let the entrepreneurs decide who should participate in the first
meetings and who not. This is stressed due to some counsellors who
invited entrepreneurs of a sector and told them after a short
introduction: "Now you are a Nucleus!" In many cases the entrepreneurs
were never seen again. - Having personal enemies in a Nucleus is the
start of its end.
Rule number 2:
Do not apply
economic, political, social and other top-down driven criteria for the
definition of a sector.
A sector may be important for the economy or may have an interesting growth
potential. But this does not guarantee the success of a Nucleus within
this sector. Instead, use only criteria, which indicate whether group
dynamic processes may be successfully stimulated due to a good
configuration of entrepreneurs.
Observation: CACB / SEBRAE, Brazil, recommend exactly the
opposite: "Identify the biggest and most important sectors". This is
because SEBRAE has in mind the promotion of the economic development in
a direct way ignoring group dynamic and chamber organisational development aspects. We seriously
recommend not to follow SEBRAE's recommendation, especially not in the
Rule number 3: Start
with "easy" sectors
"easy" when they correspond to the following criteria. They are
with a relatively high success potential. This helps all participants,
including the Nucleus counsellor, to learn, gather experiences and gain
competencies. When learning to high jump, one does not start at 2.40
metres but at 1.00 or 1.50 metres …
The criteria in detail:
Leadership - "Killer" criterion
The sector has / does not have entrepreneurs with leadership
Start with a sector,
in which it is possible to identify one, two or more
entrepreneurs with a strong personality, charisma and
leadership capacities. Skip sectors without such informal
This is one of the most important criteria, which can be a “killer”!
Without having such "informal" leaders one may stop the analysis
at this point already because the probability is high that it
will not be possible to create a Nucleus successfully.
Chamber membership - "Killer criterion"
The chamber will / will not accept the entrepreneurs as
membership fee paying members?
Start Nuclei only
with entrepreneurs who will be accepted as new members by the
chamber and who are able to finance a considerable membership
fee. Never found Nuclei with entrepreneurs who never will be
integrated as members by the chamber.
especially to the so called informal sector. In some regions
chambers never accept them as members because they are
perceived as unfair competitors to the formal enterprises
which pay taxes and social security, maintain technical and
social standards, etc. In other regions, chambers accept
informal enterprises as members (the entrepreneur becomes
written down in the constitution frequently chambers use
also social and reputation criteria concerning the admission
of new members. Check whether under such aspects the
potential Nucleus entrepreneurs will be accepted by the
start the first Nuclei with small enterprises and not with
micro enterprises. Otherwise the Nuclei get the reputation
being an activity only for micros, uninteresting for medium
and bigger enterprises. It proved to be very difficult to
get this impression later on out of the minds.
inefficient to start Nuclei with entrepreneurs who will
never pay adequate membership fees. They would be maintained
in the chamber subsidised by the other members. The coming
conflict is obvious.
We have seen a
number of such Nuclei where the counsellor, the CEO and even
chairpersons used social or political criteria concerning
the creation of Nuclei: "There are some poor fishermen at
the lake. Can we help them with a Nucleus?" "No, we cannot,
that is clearly not the job of a chamber! And the chamber is
not a welfare institution."
Why the Counsellor does have to run 10
The entrepreneurs and companies of the sector have high / medium
/ low qualifications?
with a sector having entrepreneurs of medium qualification and
not with mainly highly qualified or very
low qualified entrepreneurs / companies.
The sector is poorly / well organized?
Start with a
poorly, unorganised sector and not with a well-organised one.
The sector is heterogeneous to a certain extent or very
homogeneous or heterogeneous / homogeneous?
Start with a sector where there is
a good balance between homogeneity and heterogeneity and not
with a very homogeneous or very heterogeneous one.
The sector consists of many / few enterprises?
Start with a sector with
relatively many enterprises in a defined catchment area and not
with one which has only
a small number of businesses.
Entrepreneur's participation in
the production process
In the sector the entrepreneur participates / does not participate actively in the production process?
with companies in which the owners dominate the technical
know-how and participate actively in the production process. Do not start with companies in which the
owner acts only as manager or administrator with limited know-how about
Normally, changes start the Nucleus enterprises in the
technical sector in small steps in order to improve the
productivity. When the entrepreneur her- / himself does not
dominate the technologies of her / his enterprise s/he has
to transmit the ideas and experiences from the Nucleus to
her / his employed technicians. We do not know one case
where this really worked successfully.
When the majority of the Nucleus member entrepreneurs are
managers then presumably technical subjects are hardly
discussed what makes the Nucleus for the minority less
interesting and endangers the Nucleus' work.
In the sector, companies can improve with / without larger
Start with a sector in which
improvements in the companies are possible through a lot of
small technical, organisational and managerial changes. Do not start with a sector in which
improvements in the companies require large financial investments
right at the beginning.
External know-how sources and Business Development Service (BDS)
providers exist / do not exist in the region for the sector?
Start with a sector for
which know-how sources and Business Development Service (BDS)
providers are available.
Do not start with a sector when there no such resources.
05/04/2009 - MueGlo