In the final year of my degree I decided to take on a course on entrepreneurship believing that it would provide an answer to my question “what is entrepreneurship really about?” Instead I learnt that there is no universal definition of the term entrepreneur and that there are many different theories and concepts about what scholars presume entrepreneurship is.
Having a business idea myself I pitched to a panel at my university, dragons den style, which found me being the winner of the University of Surrey BESSS Grant to aid in the start-up of my business. As I was due to complete my degree within three months of receiving the grant it could not have been a more perfect time for me to start-up a company.
In Europe however, there is a stigma around entrepreneurs and it is seen as a huge risk especially for someone young and with little to no work experience to start business. So when I won a fully funded place at the Think Young Entrepreneurship Summer School (ESS) in Brussels, I thought it would the perfect opportunity to find out the facts about entrepreneurship.
At the ESS I was expecting a classroom style setting where we would all sit and listen to entrepreneurs lecture us all day while we tentatively took notes. However the school had more of a do-it-yourself approach. We were placed into diverse groups and were encouraged to interview already established entrepreneurs on specific set topics with the aims of finding out all we could about entrepreneurs. By the last day of the summer school each group was required to create an easy entrepreneurship guide with the information collected from day 1-4 which we to presented in front of judges for the winning spot.
Along with interviewing successful entrepreneurs there were also other activities which added to our learning experience. We were given the opportunity to visit the European Parliament and take part in a debate about the views of entrepreneurs and failure in Europe.
We were also invited to Google headquarters for a networking cocktail event and found out about how Google is supporting entrepreneurial ventures.
This was a new method of learning for me and I found it both intellectually stimulating and inspiring to pick at the brains of people who have already been there and done that. The entrepreneurial guest speakers were well chosen with little in common with their businesses and a bit more in common with their practices and experiences which made every interview intriguing and unique. The one thing that struck me was that they all seemed to have gone through a learning curve either through making mistakes of from completely failing. But with passion and determination they were able to learn and innovate and that is what makes them so successful today. The entrepreneurs were all very open and honest which helped us paint a true picture of what it truly means to be entrepreneurial.
Not only did I find answers to my questions about entrepreneurship, I also made strong contacts through networking, and had an overall amazing experience in Brussels.
Can entrepreneurship be taught?
Every entrepreneurial activity is different as it is about the individual entrepreneur and their own aspirations and visions. Though there may be no set formula on how to ensure that you can become a successful entrepreneur I learnt a few useful general tips which can be applied to any business idea.
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