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Are Entrepreneurs Born? Or Made?


A recent post on TechCrunch by "entrepreneur-turned-academic," Vivek Wadhwa, addresses the controversial topic of entrepreneurial DNA. Wadhwa asks the question: are entrepreneurs born or made?

With a surfeit of data, Wadhwa points out that entrepreneurs are not likely to come from entrepreneurial families. He goes on to say that not all business owners identified themselves as being entrepreneurially-minded in college. Instead, according this research, 69% started their own businesses within 10 years of working for someone else.

In other words, the most likely path to entrepreneurship is the simplest one: you work for someone, become an expert in a technical area, build a network of contacts, then strike out on your own, presumably with a believe that you can solve a problem or build a better mousetrap than competitors.

What do you think? Are you born an entrepreneur? Do you become one early in life? Or are entrepreneurs likely to start businesses out of hard-won expertise who then start a business around their skills and networks?

Last updated: Mar 1, 2010

LEWIS SCHIFF | Inc. Business Owners Council

Lewis Schiff is the executive director of the Inc. Business Owners Council. His latest book is Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons From the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons.

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