VENTURES AFRICA – Who is an entrepreneur? Are entrepreneurs born or made? Are some, more entrepreneurial endowed than others? I need to know! These questions and many more has kept me pondering for a while now and I had to do an inquiry to get an answer. Though the term, entrepreneur, is often thrown around in the business world today, I had not taken a conscious consideration of what it actually means until recently. I suspect many reading this piece may be having a similar experience, so join me in this discovery to getting answers.
According to Wikipedia “The term entrepreneur is a loanword from French, and is commonly used to describe an individual who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so.”
Over time, scholars have defined the term in different ways. Here are some prominent definitions:
“An entrepreneur is a person with a high need for achievement [N-Ach]. He is energetic and a moderate risk taker.” – David McClleland
“Entrepreneurs are innovators who use a process of shattering the status quo of the existing products and services, to set up new products, new services.” – Schumpeter
“An entrepreneur searches for change, responds to it and exploits opportunities. Innovation is a specific tool of an entrepreneur hence an effective entrepreneur converts a source into a resource.” – Peter Drucker
“Entrepreneurs take initiative, accept risk of failure and have an internal locus of control.” – Albert Shapero
Out of the definitions above, none was able to answer my question of are entrepreneurs born or made? or are some, more entrepreneurial endowed than others? So my quest went on for a while… But, not long after I came across ‘my saviour‘ in a book titled “Instinct: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial DNA” written by Thomas L. Harrison.
Thomas Harrison in his master piece (Instinct: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial DNA), posited both scientific research and anecdotal evidence to suggest that entrepreneurs have inborn predisposition to thinking in a certain way that contributes to their success. Such predisposition needs to be switched on by certain behaviours, but it’s there from the beginning. It’s instinctive. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, but lacking it seems to be pretty clear marker for failure in any entrepreneurial endeavor. He added that though, research in this area is in its earliest stages, he believed that lab science will increasingly confirm his day-to-day practical experience and observations.
As a result of the foregoing, he was able to establish two concepts that is worth taking to heart - entrepreneurial behaviour and entrepreneurial personality! Entrepreneurial behaviour covers the learning part of entrepreneurs which is usually expressed while Entrepreneurial personality covers the genetic side of entrepreneurs which is usually acted out.
Marks of entrepreneurs that often guarantee their success in business are ability to instinctively pounce on opportunity, being unstoppable in pursuit of a vision and being able to persuade others of the value of an idea. These marks he said, are often a function of people’s personality traits. Meaning he believes that entrepreneurs have a DNA that wires them for success called the DNA of success!
And at this point in my reading and inquiry, I had to pause, think, mediate and sum-up the courage to voice out and ask on this platform, what is your opinion here - Are entrepreneurs born or made? Are some, more entrepreneurial endowed than others? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Till next time, we are all work in progress…Nothing ventured, nothing gained.