Henrik, Rest In Peace.

May 7, 2011

This morning I attended the funeral of Henrik*, a friend of the family. He is Danish and we met him when he started going out with our good friend Isabel. They dated a couple of years and last summer they got married. He, like his wife, was a superb economist. Henrik graduated from one of the best, if not the best business school in Scandinavia. He successfully worked in a major trading company, but having in his genes the potential to be a highly successful entrepreneur, he started his own company with the support of some friends. He was the managing director, and work hard hours for the business to take off. A few months ago, we invited them for dinner, but only she could come, he stayed working.

This week he committed suicide. He left letters with kind words to his family and wife. He assured them it was not their fault, that he loved them and knew they loved him, but that he could not take it anymore.

As today was his funeral, I could say many good things about him, but honestly, he was a good man. I though he loved a lot our friend Isabel.

This is a very personal story, that I’m sharing here. But I feel I have to write about it. As this blog is about economic geography, local development and entrepreneurship, many times I have talked about the complexity of this issues. Recently I added a post about how hard it is to be an entrepreneur. Some will say, that they have never said it was easy. I say, policy makers and academic gurus, should not only avoid to say “it’s easy” (even though many times they imply it), they should clearly say that it is usually really hard.

Probably Henrik did not took his life because of his occupation, but because of a mix of reasons beyond our comprehension. However, knowing a little the situation, his entrepreneurial edge seems to have played a role in this tragic situation.

This experience today, should remind each of us the challenges of entrepreneurship. Something, that sometimes researchers, and probably everybody, forget.

Rest in Peace, brother.

*The names have been changed for privacy considerations.