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Are entrepreneurs born or made?

There are a lot o opinions on this topic and can't really get my head around the answer. Any guidance would be much appreciate it.

28 Replies

Davida Shensky
0
1
Davida Shensky Entrepreneur
We help small to medium size companies put together a strategy for success and hold you accountable to follow through
Some are born because they like working independently and making plans for a project and taking it to fruition but they can be made---it's a matter of learning the skills needed to be succeessful
Dave Perry
2
0
Dave Perry Entrepreneur
Global Business Strategist & Technology Commercialization Consultant
This question is like asking whether musicians are born or made. Of course, there are going to be natural prodigies who can instinctively play nearly every instrument but, for everyone else, training on the fundamentals, techniques ... and then lots of practice ... will make great music most of the time. The same is true for entrepreneurship! The vast majority of people, who have an interest in creating new and innovative solutions to problems, will benefit from learning the art and the science of entrepreneurship - and their customers, employees and shareholders will be rewarded as well!
Thomas Rand-Nash, PhD
2
0
Thomas Rand-Nash, PhD Entrepreneur
Director of Operations & Growth at Brighterion
I think it depends on your definition of entrepreneur. For me, there is no such thing as a "serial"entrepreneur. ALLentrepreneurs are serial. They are idea machines with the where with all to continually make these ideas become a reality. With this definition in mind, I thinkentrepreneurs are born. There are lots of other "business owners" out there, who had a single idea and built it. These are often "made," in the sense that an idea occurred to them and they made it happen. But, I differentiate "business owner" from "entrepreneur." Of course, the world needs both!

For me, I have had ideas and tried to build them into businesses since I can remember, from selling candy and trinkets in elementary school to building mobile and web apps today. I consider myself anentrepreneur, rather then a business owner.
Gary Sojka
0
0
Gary Sojka Entrepreneur
President Emeritus, Professor Emeritus at Bucknell University
May,
Yours is a most important and interesting question that educators have been asking for years. We at Entremetric have have focused on it for over three years. We believe that it is possible to learn things that can be helpful to a person starting a business, but our data suggest that there are some people that have implicit tendencies suggesting an entrepreneurial mind set. There are also those with out such clear cut tendencies. We provide resources that can help anyone become better prepared to face the challenges of entrepreneurism, but we also provide a way for individuals to determine whether or not their innate tendencies suggest they might be well suited to an entrepreneurial approach to the world of work.
You might want to check out our web site at www.entremetric.com
Gary.
Ema Chuku
3
0
Ema Chuku Entrepreneur
Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad
Visionaries are born. Entrepreneurs are made.
Ken Anderson
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0
Ken Anderson Advisor
Director, Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development, Delaware Economic Development Office
The facts seem to suggest that both are true. There is a lot of data that intimates that successful entrepreneurs come from all backgrounds. Many successful entrepreneurs come from families where neither parent were entrepreneurs. Many did not really engage in anything truly entrepreneurial until college or as a young adult. Many never really envisioned themselves until early adult life having a business. Whether you go to college or not doesn't seem to make a huge difference unless you are starting a business in a tech based field. So if you are looking for a definitive answer, if we are honest, it is probably not to be had.
Tim Wat
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0
Tim Wat Advisor
Adjunct Professor at California State University, East Bay
IMHO, Both. I've worked with and seen both - folks who self-identify as life-long entrepreneurs, always driven to start and build ex nihilo, as it were.Others find themselves at their first venture,scared to death until the bug bites them - the elation, the thrill, the agony, the heartache. Not born, but made into entrepreneurs with the taste in their blood. Dave's analogy to musicians is spot on...I'm a professional jazz musician and I regularly work with both born naturals and those who had to work extra hard.

I think this also touches on a much deeper question of self-identification - are we the things we do? Current colloquial thinking might suggest that entrepreneurs are life-long entrepreneurs, born that way and substantially different than the rest of the "civilians"...but I'm not sure the great span of history backs this premise up. Certainly when one is rewarded in some way for stepping out and risking, one grows a greater capacity,appetiteand taste for future risk. Some are naturally inclined toward being others focused and applying divergent/convergent thinking to otherpeople's problems...but this by no means suggests one cannot learn these things as well.
Timothy Coats
0
0
Timothy Coats Entrepreneur
Director of Applied Innovation at Trace3
They are made. There is way too much emphasis on the idea that people are born a certain way. There are difference in each of us, but who we are is largely the result of our environment. To use a computer analogy, the chip is defined at birth, the firm is built in the first few years of life, but the programs are a result of our life experience. Some good reference:
"Talent is Overrated" by Geoff Colvin, "Who's in Charge" byMichael S. Gazzaniga, and "Outliers" byMalcolm Gladwell.

Our brains are constantly absorbing new information from our surrounding. They have been designed to integrate this information and provide a few of the world around us. Daniel Kahneman in "Think Fast and Slow" uses the concepts of System 1 (automatic responses) and System 2 (conscious responses) to help us understand how our brain works and is programmed.

There are plenty of other references that are based on extensive study of the human mind and case studies. You are what you make of yourself.


Joe Albano, PhD
0
0
Joe Albano, PhD Advisor
Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.
It depends on what you mean by 'entrepreneur'. To me, the question is a bit like asking "are employees born or made?"

Most people don't reallyhave a choice about whether they want to work or not. As a result, many of those people become employees - not so much as a consciouschoice but more as a result of operating in contemporary society. Effective employees find ways to use their skills and inclinations (born) as well as their training and development (made) to make the most of their employment.

I believethat the nature of work itself has changed in fundamentalways. As a result of these changes the "accidental employee" is being displaced by the "accidentalentrepreneur". Put simply the role of employees in society (do what the company tells you and you will have a 'successful' career) is less available. In this world, I define entrepreneurs as individualswho no longer outsource their career/professional success to a third party - traditionally an employer.

This means that one can choose to be the most effective entrepreneurpossible by aligningtheir career pursuits (starting a business, entering into a partnership, working as a freelancer, being an early-mid-late stage employee) with skills and inclinations as well as increasingly self-directed training and development.

Not necessarily a direct answer to your question, but a perspective that I hope is a bit different and that might inspire some conversation.
Martin Omansky
0
0
Martin Omansky Entrepreneur
Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional
No all-encompassing answer. Some entrepreneurs are inherent risk-takers from early in their lives. Others become risk-takers because of frustration,perceived opportunity, need to create income when a job is lost, problem-solving trait leading to innovation, need to succeed, revenge - many other motivations. I believe that entrepreneurship is most often arrived at through circumstance, rather than personality trait, but I would not rule out the latter because I have seen many serial entrepreneurs who seem to have adventure in their veins.
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