Yet people ask and others might challenge the idea that we (I am including many other support services for businesses) can’t teach someone to be an entrepreneur. Just today I read an article that espoused that view. And I agree.
That might startle you somewhat. Did I just contradict myself in two short paragraphs? I don’t think so. Entrepreneurs do better and are more effective if they have certain skills. And those skills are something we can help them learn and/or improve. These skills include marketing and today’s online marketing efforts or financial recordkeeping or where to get funding or what is the first step to take. I can even help the nascent business owner look for ideas and evaluate which idea is indeed an opportunity. As my tag line suggests, I also believe that communities can have a strong influence on the success or failure of a business. They do this by welcoming businesses into their community, ensuring they have the support systems they need, and being advocates for the business and the community.
I even argue that I can gather the kindling by helping people consider owning a business, exposing them to other successful entrepreneurs, and discussing the realities and the myths of business ownership. But the question is can I be the spark to light the passion to go into business for yourself? A tough question and I probably would agree that it is not something I can do.
Some call it a drive. Others refer to it as a motivation. Writers talk about persistence and perseverance. I simply call it passion or “you gotta wanta” feeling. I am not sure this is something I or anyone else can teach.
Yet as an educator I do believe I can help them see the possibilities and, when and if the time is right, can help them take a path offering the greatest chance of business success. We, myself, other Extension educators, and support agencies such as the local chamber, the SBA and its related organizations, SBDCs and SCORE, a department of commerce, etc., are there for as support and mentors.
So my answer. I teach entrepreneurs entrepreneurship. What are your thoughts?