Is entrepreneurship learned or innate?

Entrepreneurship is an art and not a science. It is a set of innate traits that is perfected over time through learning and experience. Not everyone can be a good entrepreneur like not everyone can be a good actor. Nothing can turn a follower into a leader.

Entrepreneurship is believed to be a natural talent, not something that can be taught. Some entrepreneurs are born with the gift of vision and the ability to inspire the rest of us. Entrepreneurial skills can be taught; entrepreneurial qualities, such as determination and risk tolerance, are innate. There are those who continue to insist that entrepreneurship cannot be taught.

They argue that entrepreneurship is confusing, uncertain and unpredictable and therefore there is no single method or map to impart to budding entrepreneurs, especially if it is a teacher or teacher who has no experience in the business world. Entrepreneurship is a team sport, not an individual effort, and you can only learn by doing it in the real world. The skills that an entrepreneur needs to succeed go beyond business skills that are “easy to teach in the classroom (e.g. finance, accounting, and economics) and include personal skills, such as leadership and management, that are best learned through experience.

White explained how entrepreneurship programs can help people build on what is already part of their inner makeup. Entrepreneurship took root in them from an early age, allowing them to hone their skills right from the start. It doesn't mean you have to go back to college or business school (although they are certainly valid options), but rather that you learn the skills you need through the technique that works well for you. For example, while some may be born with the gift of being creative without a concerted effort, we can all learn the skills that creative people acquire by developing ideas and detailing the details of a new company.

It is true that entrepreneurship cannot be taught in the traditional sense of sitting in a classroom listening to a conference or by the typical case study method used in business programs. However, there is a bold debate on the topic “can entrepreneurship be taught”, or whether it is an innate skill that only certain people are born with. I think entrepreneurship can be taught because in my business, I see that people from all walks of life are successful in their own businesses. Many people believed that entrepreneurship could not be taught; they believed that it was simply too different from other subjects, and that much of the success of entrepreneurs could be attributed to innate personality traits (see studies on entrepreneurial mentality here and here).

Rather than being an all-or-nothing question, the truth is more likely to be on a continuum that some people learn for themselves through the real world (and this is the best way for them) and others learn through a mixed model that may include learning the fundamentals in a formal educational setting, while also learning doing. These tools and programs have revolutionized business education by finding a more realistic way to support entrepreneurs, rather than the older and more passive methods of “researching and writing a business plan” to teach entrepreneurship. Its goal is to impart a methodology for leaving the classroom and interacting with the market (and learning from it) to build a business model over time; this process is more like the way real businesses are built than the old way of creating a business plan and then executing it.

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