Entrepreneurship – can it be taught?

Enterprise Programme Manager – Chris Darlow

A few years back a client asked if, on completion of attending a 2 day business start-up workshop, he would be fully equipped to begin trading. I thought it best to take the time to explain that the workshop would provide the essential ‘tools’ with which to move forward, but there were many other crucial elements of entrepreneurship which cannot be taught in a classroom environment.

Can entrepreneurship be taught? I suppose this could be similar to another question – are entrepreneurs born or can they be made?

In my view there are 3 possible answers – no, yes and possibly!! It really depends on how we choose to define ‘entrepreneurship’ and what other considerations are taken in to account.

Is it realistic to expect to be able to ‘teach’ entrepreneurship in the same way as accountancy and law?

Some will say ‘yes’, in so far as learning mainstream business principles and skills are concerned as well as understanding/acknowledging the potential problems and issues that may lie ahead.

Others will say a categorical ‘no’, arguing that attempting to teach entrepreneurship is a hopeless quest, as there are far too many elements which are ‘unteachable’ in a classroom, similar to teaching someone to play the piano or perhaps a sport.

There has to be a level of natural ability together with motivation, self-discipline and determination. Business Words


Additionally, individuals will often require face to face support, perhaps an opportunity to ‘trial’ their business idea and spend considerable time on planning and preparation with experienced business people/advisers.

Conversely, there are plenty of examples where people were ‘born’ with entrepreneurial traits and require little support to be trading successfully.

With business start-up courses, there may be some crossover with business studies, but theory alone simply won’t cut it in the business world.

The arts of negotiation, identifying opportunities, sales techniques etc are elements which can really only be honed by natural instinct, experience and dare I say, making mistakes and learning from them.

Entrepreneurship in the classroom environment is very safe and clean, while in the real world it can often be dirty, scary and occasionally dangerous.

WSX Enterprise run New in Business courses for budding entrepreneurs all across Dorset and Hampshire. For more information visit www.wsxenterprise.co.uk or call us on    01202 607541.