Entrepreneurship · Startups

Are entrepreneurs born or made?

May Sun

August 26th, 2016

There are a lot o opinions on this topic and can't really get my head around the answer. Any guidance would be much appreciate it.
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Ema Chuku Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad

August 26th, 2016

Visionaries are born. Entrepreneurs are made.

Ismail Berkan Lean Innovation Consultant | Digital Strategy & Transformation Advisor | Startup Mentor & Coach

August 26th, 2016

According to research by Scott Shane, a professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University, 40% born (genetic) and 60% made. However, entrepreneurship can be both learned and taught to make great entrepreneurs.


August 27th, 2016

Good point Paul Garcia.  \What's an entrepreneur?

The old, "I know it when I see it" is pretty sloppy. I'm a reluctant entrepreneur, and lousy at most of it. I'm motivated by the responsibility to create, not for personal reasons.

The standard methodology in science is first to survey entrepreneurs and categorize the different types of skills, personalities, backgrounds, motivations and the cultures they come out of. And probably much more. 'Like Kinsey did for sex. Until that study was done, no one even knew what they were studying. And they didn't know that they didn't know.

I find this in politics. For 90% of people in politics, their knowledge comes out of experience and mentoring in the current paradigm. Maybe another 9% add a rich knowledge of some history (I have no idea about the actual numbers.) A few political scientists seem to have a rich enough basket of distinctions to think about politics in other cultures and what's possible for people. (And maybe not- maybe this mainly comes from sociology or other places.)

Few, if anyone, looks at what's possible in politics based on what's possible for humans. I didn't even do that. (I looked at what's desirable, and what would be needed to have it, then what would work.)

Much, much more is possible than our inside-the-box thinking allows. It would take real marketing (storytelling, illustration) to lead society to enlarge its thinking. But it could be done easily. My guess is that it would be similar for entrepreneurship. The incubators are a huge new innovation in entrepreneurship. But they're still missing large opportunities for increasing successful entrepreneurship, if that's their goal...

My real question, May Sun, is: Why are you asking the question? Are you wondering if you have what it takes? If you "should" try it? Or maybe looking at the suitability of a friend or an applicant? The answer to this might be very helpful for getting valuable input. 

Dave Perry Global Business Strategist & Technology Commercialization Consultant

August 26th, 2016

This question is like asking whether musicians are born or made. Of course, there are going to be natural prodigies who can instinctively play nearly every instrument but, for everyone else, training on the fundamentals, techniques … and then lots of practice … will make great music most of the time. The same is true for entrepreneurship! The vast majority of people, who have an interest in creating new and innovative solutions to problems, will benefit from learning the art and the science of entrepreneurship - and their customers, employees and shareholders will be rewarded as well!

Thomas PhD Director of Operations & Growth at Brighterion

August 26th, 2016

I think it depends on your definition of entrepreneur. For me, there is no such thing as a "serial"entrepreneur. ALLentrepreneurs are serial. They are idea machines with the where with all to continually make these ideas become a reality. With this definition in mind, I thinkentrepreneurs are born. There are lots of other "business owners" out there, who had a single idea and built it. These are often "made," in the sense that an idea occurred to them and they made it happen. But, I differentiate "business owner" from "entrepreneur." Of course, the world needs both!

For me, I have had ideas and tried to build them into businesses since I can remember, from selling candy and trinkets in elementary school to building mobile and web apps today. I consider myself anentrepreneur, rather then a business owner.

David Austin

August 26th, 2016

>born or made?

Not "or", but "and". True entrepreneurs are both "born" and "made" as such. Those who have it in their blood, literally have it in their blood, ie - there is a genetic component, but they must also be made, ie. - pay their dues and learn.

Irwin Stein Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.

August 26th, 2016

The one trait that I think is common to successful entrepreneurs is that they can sell. A great idea has no value if you can't sell it to the people who will help you realize it. But sales can be learned, just like law, medicine and everything else can be learned. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Successful people play to their strengths.

Irwin Stein Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.

August 26th, 2016

Miguel. Not everyone can sell well enough to beat out the competition.  Wozniak was not an inventor. He started by assembling kits that were advertised in Popular Electronics magazine.  Granted that he modified them after  awhile and that Jobs added marketing panache.  My best friend in the 1970s was a very successful entrepreneur. He defined his motivation as :"guys with a lot of money get the best looking women".  Just a thought to start the weekend.

Timothy Coats Director of Applied Innovation at Trace3

August 26th, 2016

They are made.  There is way too much emphasis on the idea that people are born a certain way.  There are difference in each of us, but who we are is largely the result of our environment.  To use a computer analogy, the chip is defined at birth, the firm is built in the first few years of life, but the programs are a result of our life experience.  Some good reference:  
"Talent is Overrated" by Geoff Colvin, "Who's in Charge" by Michael S. Gazzaniga, and "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell.  

Our brains are constantly absorbing new information from our surrounding.  They have been designed to integrate this information and provide a few of the world around us.   Daniel Kahneman in "Think Fast and Slow" uses the concepts of System 1 (automatic responses) and System 2 (conscious responses) to help us understand how our brain works and is programmed. 

There are plenty of other references that are based on extensive study of the human mind and case studies.  You are what you make of yourself.

Chuck Bartok Marketing and Sales Manager at MD Building Systems of Florida, Inc

August 26th, 2016

Ever since late puberty I have enjoyed an unfettered "life" of an entrepreneur...never having been "employed" (except pumping gas at age 13).

I really messed a lot of things up in the beginning (over 60 years ago) But as time went on and I continued to reach it got easier, more successful and eventually success was a given. 

So I was NOT born an entrepreneur (just touched in the head, as my parents thought) and became a "made" Entrepreneur with time and application of high energy to IDEAS.

One thing I notice, me and my peers (mastermind alliances for 5-6 decades) share a couple traits...
We are definitely Contrarians and do not allow Society to dictate or guide.