Are Entrepreneurs Born or Bred?

Jan 20th, 2010 by actonmba

Evolution: Are Entrepreneurs Born Or Bred?The age-old debate between nature versus nurture also applies to entrepreneurs: are successful entrepreneurs internally wired to own businesses or did they learn the needed skills to be successful?

Some say that entrepreneurship cannot be taught — that true entrepreneurs are born with the drive, determination and burning desire to start their own businesses. People with certain personality traits are more likely to be and succeed as entrepreneurs. Results from surveyed entrepreneurs suggest that their inbuilt entrepreneurial desires drove them to start businesses. Recently, blogger Mark Suster started a series of blog posts about the traits that make up an entrepreneur. So far, tenacity, street smarts, the ability to pivot, resiliency, inspiration, perspiration and the willingness to accept risk have been highlighted, with more to come. Can these traits be taught or must they be innately wired into the entrepreneur?

The other side of the spectrum says that anyone has the potential to be a successful entrepreneur if they put in the effort and work hard. These believers say that there is no set “entrepreneur personality” and that, while successful entrepreneurs may share some like characteristics, there is a mixture of personality types that can be successful in the entrepreneurial world. This category of entrepreneurs is widespread: the ones who work hard and learn in business school, the ones who took a risk when the opportunity presented itself, and more. Their views and actions embody the American Dream — that hard work can reap desired success.

Some say that one of the most important characteristics an entrepreneur must possess is the tolerance for risk. Does that recognition of, and tolerance for, risk have to be intuitive? Or can it be taught? Or is it a mixture of both?

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

Photo courtesy of  Noel A. Tanner.

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Posted in Entrepreneurship, Science & Research

3 Responses

  1. Antoine Martin says:

    Some have a very fertile ground to be entrepreneurs,
    and will be entrepreneurs early on – the “nature” entrepreneurs.

    Some have most of the traits of character described
    above, and could become entrepreneurs provided they
    work at it – the “nurture” entrepreneurs.

    Some have very little character ingredients to
    be entrepreneurs, and will need a lot of work to only become
    mediocre entrepreneurs.

    It is a matter of degree, although the difference of extremes
    could appear to be a difference a nature. The more “nurture”,
    the more the person will have to work at it; the more “nature”,
    the more the innate skills will be that of an entrepreneur.

  2. actonmba says:

    Great insight. Thanks for sharing, Antoine!

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