TC Debate: Are we 'born' entrepreneurs?
You got your hazel eyes from your father and the fair skin tone from your mother, but from where did you get that passion, risk taking ability, and never-say-die attitude that is a prerequisite to be an entrepreneur? Did you learn these from your education/social institutions or was it always present in your genes?
While it is widely believed that physical characteristics are hereditary and individual behaviour, intelligence and personality are a result of the external environment; Techcircle.in attempts to find the answer to one of the oldest debates in psychology 'nature versus nurture' in context to entrepreneurship.
For the same, we posed the question 'Are we born with entrepreneurship traits or does nurture have a wider role in the success of an entrepreneur?' to a few entrepreneurs. Here is what we found:
Prasad Shejale, co-founder and CEO, Logicserve Digital (for the motion)
Entrepreneurship is part of the nature of an individual. It may not necessarily be explicit but there are three important characteristics (in addition to many others) that increase the probability of a person taking the entrepreneurial plunge. These are:
1. Passion: Whatever he/she does or feels is intense and that intensity makes him/her choose the road less travelled. Does it mean that every passion driven person will be entrepreneur? Not necessary, but you will find almost every entrepreneur to be passionate about what he/she does. Nurturing can help guide or enhance the intensity of passion but a person needs to have that fire which is inevitably a part of his or her nature.
2. Empathetic nature: This is another trait that is in-built within an individual. Product or service ideas are all about solving issues (said or unsaid). To understand the issues and provide a solution to it, one has to have empathy. Being empathetic is part of one's nature, and all the years of learning and interacting with others can only hone the trait. This in turn will help that person come up with solutions.
3. Risk taking: One can have passion and also be capable of finding solutions to someone else's problem, but to take the leap of faith into the unknown without the fear of failure is something inherent to entrepreneurs. A mentor can help nudge the person to become a calculated risk taker but in the end it is the entrepreneur's discretion to venture out.
A study undertaken by Amway observed that to become a leading entrepreneur one needs to have the 'e-gene'. Nurture can only enhance the already existing entrepreneurial spirit in an individual.
Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, founder and CEO, BlueStone.com (gainst the motion)
Institutes today run full-fledged programes to cater to the need for administrative and business management skills, which are crucial to run an organisation. The industry benefits a great deal from them. Other than these courses, the following factors (external and internal) play a positive role in nurturing the entrepreneur within.
1. Work experience: It does help for the individual to have worked single-handedly on any project - big or small - independently or within an organisation. This helps them identify what they are capable of doing all by themselves and instills a sense of self confidence.
2. Imitating from the external environment: Individuals who are keen observers are likely to learn or imitate from the external environment very quickly. So, essentially, if your close friends and family are entrepreneurs, keen observers can imitate this trait. However, this has nothing to do with genes. Conducive environment makes a lot of difference.
3. Knowing what excites you: Interacting with like-minded people and being part of entrepreneurial communities can encourage people to question what excites them. Most people don't know how to be entrepreneurs as they are not consciously aware of anything that would satisfy them. Once the quest for this is nurtured, the acquired entrepreneurial skills go a long way.
There are many institutes (unfortunately not in India) that make it mandatory for its students to work in startups for at least a year in order to encourage them to take more risks in life assuming that the individual is passionate about learning from the environment. Anybody who is less passionate about any work shouldn't be doing it in the first place.
While creativity or entrepreneurship is a good thing, the sensible thing would be to treat your personality traits in a logical process before taking the entrepreneurial leap.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)