Archive for July 9th, 2009

So do you have it in you to be an Entrepreneur?

July 9, 2009

Entrepreneurs for many of us have typically been cool yet mystical figures! There are typical curiosities which many think about them when they hear or read about them – “What did they have in them that they could become an Entrepreneur?“, “What drives them?“, “Do they do this for money or glory?“, etc. And ofcourse the million-dollar self-introspecting question which many have – “Do I have it in me to become an Entrepreneur?

An interesting new study titled “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur – Family Background and Motivation“, just published this month by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation demystifies a lot of that. It is an interesting read. The study certainly seems to be debunking lots of common perceptions out there. No, you don’t have to be a college-drop-out or a revolt in a family or be in your twenties to be a successful entrepreneur. Sigh!

Some interesting findings/thoughts/questions which I had after reading the survey which the study conducted –

  • Average or median age of the entrepreneurs seem to be around 40 i. e. many of them are around the peak of their career age-wise. (Hence majority of them were married and with children). A while back I had read a particular VC had created some flutter when he mentioned that the prime age of becoming an entrepreneur today was in the 30s. This finding in some sense may invalidate that.
  • It may not be an accurate statement when some one says that entrepreneurship typically runs in the family. The study found that about 52% of the entrepreneurs interviewed were the first in their family to take that step.
  • One thing which I always had perceived is that majority of the ventures by the entrepreneurs were typically motivated by certain challenges they themselves faced in their life and thire urge to resolve the same. This study seems to have missed covering that aspect when they listed out the prime motivations for becoming an entrepreneur.  Would have loved to see how many of them started their ventures because of “want to change the world” factor!
  • Also, does the motivation factors change from males vs. females?
  • While reading the paper, I got a feeling that the study seems to be considering the entrepreneurial venture more from the perspective of factory/start-up/company setting. However, I think there is yet another sub-section of entrepreneurs – who are typically not the Bill Gates kinds – but still are running their own individual setups. Example – a Medical Practitioner who sets up his/her own private clinic; an artist who sells his/her art on the Ebay, etc. I would consider these also as a form of entrepreneurs. If these forms of entrepreneurs were also considered in this study,  my gut assumption is that a lot of findings could have been substantially different.

I understand that this is the first finding report and few more future ones are going to come out. Looking forward to reading those too.

Happy Reading!