There has been much traffic, some bang-on some nonsense, about whether anyone can be trained to be an entrepreneur. The general output seems to be that we are probably all born with it but clearly in different measures and, much like many other skills, how we are nurtured and educated may determine how much of our entrepreneurial quota we exhibit as we develop and age.
Another general theme that commonly arises is that most believe that you can educate entrepreneurs to be better entrepreneurs than they might be naturally – a premise usually well supported by successful ones. So most of the difference seems to be related to the individual’s attitude to risk and how much they will take on. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it seems that most take on more risk when they have less money and less when they have more – which in itself probably merits a white paper. But there is common agreement that whether born or developed, as with most other subjects all entrepreneurs can learn how to operate better whatever their experience.
Arguably, you can teach anyone the majority of the ‘activities’ related to launching and growing a venture, (our research shows about 75% to give it a number) and many business schools try to do this. This is because, at the end of the day, these are fundamental business skills and processes that are not necessarily idiosyncratic to entrepreneurship – other than the context of new firms. So given that, we would argue that someone can be taught to be very skilled in those processes, particularly those involving developing teams, great marketing strategies, plausible financial projections and so on. So what about the 25%? The jury will probably remain permanently out on this one until a set of examples can be found of people whose innate entrepreneurial quota has rocketed as the result of some education.
Anyway I believe in the starting premise and as such will be at the Hauser Forum in Cambridge on Tuesday night delivering a Startup Masterclass and hoping that my words and actions will have an upward impact on all attendees