Can entrepreneurship be taught ?

Entrepreneurship has become fashionable and the startup space has become hot . It you’re young and ambitious, you no longer just want to work for a large company – you would rather become the founder and CEO of your own company .

All this is fine, but the question is, “Can you actually teach entrepreneurship? Is it possible to create entrepreneurs? Are entrepreneurs born, or can they be made ?”

The startup space has become the newest bandwagon , and everyone wants to get on. This is why you see lots of incubators and accelerators , which promise to teach young founders how to become successful entrepreneurs. Even the IIMs have got into the game , and have started offering courses on learning entrepreneurship. These are also available online, from leading universities such as Stanford.

This brings us back to the question, “Is entrepreneurship something which can be taught?”

I think it’s a bit like leadership. It’s one of those intangible qualities, where everyone wants to create leaders , and everyone wants to be a leader themselves, but is it possible to actually teach someone how to become a leader?

It’s not that people haven’t tried ! There must be at least a thousand books on how to become a leader , lots of whom have been written by icons who’ve been leaders themselves. However, I don’t really think reading books, attending MBA courses or attending workshops will helps founders to succeed.

The only way to learn is by experiencing the daily grind of a startup, so you understand the ups and downs you will have to cope with daily. It all looks very rosy from the outside, but the reality is far grimmer. Yes, some people who graduate from accelerator programs will become successful entrepreneurs, but often this could be in spite of the training – not because of it.

The best training is still the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ – and if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, plan to work for a startup , and then start up you own once you are confident you will be able to survive the emotional roller coaster ride.

I believe entrepreneurship cannot be taught, but it can be learned – and when the student is ready, the teacher will appear !

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2 thoughts

  1. “School of hard knocks” :-). I love that name. I wished movies played in cinemas were at least 30 hours long instead of 3 hours. We could have prevented some unintended programming of the rosy world.

    I enjoyed reading your blogs doctor. The frankness with which you have been expressing is inspiring. It displays the lack of any kind of fear.

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