What makes a great entrepreneur? And what sets them apart from business owners? As the International Entrepreneurship Education Conference 2016 gets under way in Liverpool at John Moores University (7-9 Sept), it is useful to remind ourselves of the qualities that separate entrepreneurs from the rest. However, it is important to stress that one is not better than the other; they’re just different. Here are a few points to consider:
Approach to risk
One main difference lies in the approach to risk. Entrepreneurs tend to love risk. They are often willing to place their financial security and/or career at stake to pursue an idea that involves investing capital on an outcome that is often uncertain.
Moved by vision
Entrepreneurs are often moved by a vision and a long-term prospect. Take start-ups for example: many (if not most) were born in a bedroom or on a kitchen table. It is the passion for an idea that drives these individuals.
Small business vs. Entrepreneurial ventures
A fine line separate small businesses and entrepreneurial ventures. Initially, both look similar but over a period of time differences start appearing. For example, entrepreneurial ventures show more tendency towards innovation and rapid growth; and, as mentioned, entrepreneurs tend to exhibit an increased tolerance for risk, preferring a high-risk high-reward path.
Risk vs. stability
Business owners are traditionally more averse to risk; they take more measurable risks by selling products or services that have a pre-tested demand and which sustain a predictable profit; the aim is a controlled business growth. In other words, it’s about opting for stability and predictability or the reassurance of knowing there is money coming in.
There are pros and cons to each approach; perhaps the sweet-spot lies somewhere in the middle. It all depends on context, and education is the best way to achieve a balance between these two extremes. This is why the International Entrepreneurship Education Conference is an opportunity to learn and discuss the latest developments in education and entrepreneurship. Organised by the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE) this year’s event will focus on the theme INSPIRE | INNOVATE | IMPACT. Delegates and speakers will discuss topics such as alternative approaches to supporting and growing businesses, diversity in education, and international partnerships and perspectives.