There will always be a debate as to whether entrepreneurship is a teachable skill or an inherent trait. The simple answer is both. Like any other human attribute there are naturals – people to whom taking risk and asserting control is simply their norm. I strongly believe that entrepreneurship is a mindset – both a philosophy that can be taught and a series of life choices for which we can prepare. As such it has never been more important. On a macro level our economy needs entrepreneurs to ensure adaptability and resilience in a rapidly changing world. On a micro level each and every one of us must become our own brand facing the reality of precarious employment in a global economy where the rewards are shifting towards capital and away from labour. From Norman Vincent Peale to Dale Carnegie to Tony Robbins people have been promoting key ideas that are critical to entrepreneurs. Adaptability, resilience and determination applied to viable scenarios. My series The Entrepreneurial Edge focuses on bringing real life experience into workshop environments to introduce key ingredients and real life experiences all focused on preparing people for careers as entrepreneurs or at least encouraging them to think like entrepreneurs in taking control over their careers.
Every college and university is trying to teach entrepreneurship. How effective are these programs? Not as effective as they need to be. Entrepreneurship can be taught but it can’t be forced. Most of these programs are focused on incubators and accelerators. We are teaching venture capitalism not entrepreneurship. Too many of these students think that raising capital is the issue and that once they raise capital they have crossed the finished line when in reality they have just stated the race. Revenue generation is the key to success and maintaining control of your business. All things are possible if you can create sales.
The more successful programs involve mentors but once again many of them come from the venture capital world more focused on burn rate and going public than founding a sustainable business. Governments encourage entrepreneurship for job creation. Venture capital in the tech area makes millionaires on occasion and creates jobs in Asia when they do so. To teach entrepreneurship effectively we have to focus more on the mainstream economy where entrepreneurs create jobs in their backyard where they can identify opportunities that Big Business rejects or ignores.
I chose the title Everyday Entrepreneur – Making it Happen for the first book in my series because I want to reach a very broad audience who need both encouragement and guidance into self-determination through entrepreneurial thinking. The Tech community dominates the dialogue and gets all the handholding. That focus is too narrow and does not help the thousands of potential entrepreneurs who can apply tech solutions to myriad of business problems creating jobs in the process.
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