Business & Education | Can You Teach Entrepreneurship?


Can you teach people to be successful entrepreneurs? Or not?

These are the questions addressed in a Wall Street Journal pro-con article, Can Entrepreneurship be Taught?

On the pro side is Noam Wasserman, professor of entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School.

He says, yes, many of the skills necessary for success as an entrepreneur founding a startup business can be taught.

Educators have brought a new level of sophistication to the analysis of entrepreneurial success and failure, he claims, and they can teach “founders” to use data to avoid common hazards.

On the con side is Victor W. Hwang, managing director of T2 Capital in Silicon Valley. He says, no, the best training ground is real life.

Entrepreneurship is messy, he contends, with few clear-cut right or wrong decisions. The diverse skills and abilities required can only be learned by doing.

Both men make good points, so the article is worth reading.

Meanwhile, what do you think: Can entrepreneurship be taught?

UPDATE
Tim Askew, CEO of Corporate Rain International, offers additional insights on this issue on his business blog, Making Rain. Check out Teaching Entrepreneurship.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

A little like the nature - nurture question isn't it? It seems there is often a gene present for entrepreneurism - which needs to be engaged, motivated and trained. Although, not having this gene does not mean one cannot succeed. One uses their strengths. So, they are both right, and they are both wrong.

Barbara Spencer Hawk said...

Good points, and I'd agree: It is like the nature/nurture dynamic.

Many entrepreneurs do seem to come from families where they saw this in action - parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc.

Others seem to have had early entrepreneurial experiences (paper routes, sales opportunities, working in a family business) that started them down the path.

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