Challenges of becoming a civil engineering entrepreneur

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    As an engineer, you are trained, programmed to be a problem solver and in most cases a technically proficient employee. The life of an engineer is pretty much defined as it is. It defined by the ideologies of Newton, the philosophy of Aristotle/Archimedes and bureaucracy of Thomas Telford but never as an independent innovative as Einstein was (with the exception of Physicists). We have been programmed to be creative but within a box and a set of unbreakable parameters. But with such limitations, How creative can we be exactly? Because in a box, there can be only a few permutations or combinations. Alright enough with the terms.

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    Until recently, I believed that I would get maximum satisfaction in working for an engineering mega corporation by contributing to society from my cubicle space. This was not an easy task especially with the struggle to get a job in the first place. Irrespective, I managed to sneak into a fairly good company with future potentials to grow my career as an engineer in the typical upward but streamlined manner. Nevertheless, with my fairly above average results from University, I came to realize that I just could not fit in perfectly with my colleagues. However, there still seems to be limited satisfaction in this daily ritual, ‘day after day’ and ‘project after project’.

    Recently, I think I can only really feel attached or consider myself a contributor if I can address these problems with a team I chose to work with. I always believed in the satisfaction of contributing to the greater good of the society with the support of a being within a Fortune 500 company, however, I am still searching for this elusive feel-good feeling. This made me decide to consider developing my passion and company with my close colleagues. Which led to the birth of my civil engineering consulting startup — SusCrete Infrastructure Consulting. It is just in its early stages but it will certainly drive a new phase for sustainable solutions for the African infrastructure sector. I am an African and proud to be one, with my motivation and skill set and that of my team, we hope to meet the present infrastructure needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

    The problems that come with being a civil engineer looking to a develop astartup company are numerous. But can be summarised easily, for example, google “funding for civil engineering startups”. You certainly might not find any helpful information on incubators, investors or mentors. The limitations for an entrepreneurial civil engineer (Eng-Preneur) can be attributed to the cult of joining the society of engineers which requires several years of experience. Only after being accepted into the cult can one be recognized as an engineer. However, it is understandable that the impact of the decisions of an engineer might affect the broader society but doesn’t that of a software programmer/ a journalist?

    The shortcoming of this lack of trust usually results in the limited global impacts been made by civil engineering entrepreneurs with the exceptions of humanitarian/social work. This ideology has to change, being a civil engineer should not limit my potential as a changemaker.

    Therefore, I hope the new generation of civil engineers and the more experienced civil engineers can work together to ensure that we can create the entrepreneurial atmosphere we dearly need. We might have been trained to think within a fixed set of parameters but this helps us think much more outside the box. I am looking forward to impacting Africa and the world, and so can you wherever you might be located.