Can entrepreneurship be taught?

First, we will have just to define what it is to be an entrepreneur — I guess there are a billion definitions on this.

  1. Super entrepreneurs;
    a. People that start from scratch 
    b. Build a business with hundreds of employees
  2. “Normal” entrepreneurs;
    a. May be building from scratch, may be buying an existing business. 
    b. Build it up to 10–1.000 employees — and doing well. 
    c. Not making a $1B companies (Unicorns)
  3. “Survival” entrepreneurs
    a. Entrepreneurs either without employees — or with under ten employees. 
    b. They are entrepreneurs because they have to like to support their need, as they may not fit into a regular job.

So this is my definition — and I do believe that you can move in-between these categories throughout your life. I have definitely moved from 3->2 and might be aiming to get further up. More about that in another blog post!

Anyway;

From birth we are given toys, our parents are playing with us to teach us all the new things in the world. As a child, we loved to explorer all we saw — sometimes even too much.

I can only refer to my life from Denmark, but all the way up to the age of 6–7 years old, then we are allowed to just “play” and explore the world. Fantastic! It makes us believe for a moment that a wood-stick can be a gun or build a tent out of two living room chairs. Make stuff from inspiration.

Then when school really takes in, that’s when I believe it goes wrong — we are then asked to learn things up to the level to be in your memory — and you must be able to memorize it to a level where you immediately can give an answer in any test/exams the teacher think is needed.

I can give you a clue, I have never had an exam where I have felt that I succeeded — I have tried almost the entire range of grades, but even if I got an “A” it never felt like success.

YAY — I remember the name of 7 different types of plastic = FANTASTIC. I have now succeeded in how the system wants me to. But how am I going to make a difference on this planet, and be better than the 7 BILLION other people? I won’t.

Let me give you another example. We (as in humans) went to the moon in 1969. Between 1969–2015 — we didn’t land ONCE on the moon. It’s 46 years! Probably mostly because it was government-owned, no vision — and people that just “try” within what they have learned. 
In 2002 Elon Musk started SpaceX; he is the guy that got tired that you couldn’t pay online — so he founded PayPal; He got tired of that nobody took the environment problems seriously — so he created a luxury car based on electricity — just to prove that anything is possible with this. I’m of course referring to Tesla.

Just 13 years after he founded the company SpaceX — privately owned — he took the approach from building cars — that you need to be able to re-use parts of the spaceship to save money and time for every successful rocket launch. So simple, but no one at NASA had succeeded with that.

It’s not putting people in boxes and asking them to memorise answers, which is going to change the world.

If we want to enhance people’s chances of doing something amazing, we have to stop measuring all on the same scale. It doesn’t work — and has never worked.

So to get back to where I started, “Can entrepreneurship be taught?” — we all probably have it in us.

And yes, maybe you don’t have the stomach for a £3M bank loan — or even venture capital (large scale) — but that doesn’t make you less of an entrepreneur. That just mean that you don’t think you have the skills to solve that task.

So the question is rather, can you unlearn all that you learned from the age of 6 to now — and start exploring and doing you thing? If yes, then you might be able to get into entrepreneurship.

If you are category 1,2 or 3 — or another definition that I haven’t thought of is not the critical part — the most important about an entrepreneurial journey is to START.

You don’t get anywhere UNLESS YOU START.

Let me know your thoughts!

Jannik Hansen 
jh@jannikhansen.co.uk