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Entrepreneurs: Born or Made?

I’d be interested to know how many readers of this blog who consider themselves entrepreneurs feel like they were born with the skills for running their own business or picked them up along the way.

The question is partly raised in a recent Small Biz Trends article which examines the value of entrepreneurship classes. It’s a bit like the question that many creative writing MFAs deal with: why teach writing? People can either write will or they can’t. Successful writers, like successful entrepreneurs, possess an ineffable talent that’s very difficult to translate or replicate. It simply exists, or so it seems.

The Small Biz Trends article points out that there are over 2,000 American colleges offer entrepreneurship courses. That's a staggering figure. Clearly, many people think they can learn how to be an entrepreneur.

But according to the article, a range of universities have launched studies on the value of entrepreneurship courses, and consistently arrive at mixed results. Three studies, based in places as diverse as Peru, Pakistan and Tanzania, have found that there's no clear evidence in either direction that learning to be an entrepreneur makes any difference in one’s actual career.

It’s fascinating in a way. One assumes that a certain kind of entrepreneur will find great value in one of these courses. For someone looking to make their break in franchise or small-business ownership, the best advice seems to be: know thyself. That’s one thing you can’t learn in an entrepreneurship course.

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