Entrepreneurship, like any other discipline, can be learnt and taught at the same time. That said, through this way an individual can have the doctrine of entrepreneurship on the tip of their fingers. This is because there is this misconception that always causes a heated debate which claims entrepreneurship cannot be taught nor learnt. Thus, this is an interesting misconception people have about entrepreneurship. In particular, American universities were the first to realize that it can be taught when they introduced entrepreneurship way back in the early 1940’s. To be frank, they even went a notch further by teaching entrepreneurship MBA’s which have started to take root currently in African countries as well. This is no wonder why Africa is lagging behind as compared to the rest of other continents. Adding to that, individuals who choose to study entrepreneurship are looked down upon due to the fact that many people are in the dark with regards to the beauty of this discipline. In my own opinion, what better way is there to conscientize and educate people about entrepreneurship than teaching them about the nitty gritties of this discipline. Henceforth, this line of thinking that entrepreneurship is not a discipline must be chucked into a dust bin. One of the forefathers of entrepreneurship that is Peter Drucker even indicated that entrepreneurship like any other discipline can be taught and learnt.
Pressing the same argument, this is the reason why we have academic entrepreneurship as a standalone form of this discipline. Nevertheless, many hordes of people claim there is nothing of that sort. The truth of the matter is that entrepreneurship comes in different forms, shapes and sizes. In this instance, academic entrepreneurship involves scholars that have chucked the ivory tower mentality that university researchers used to harbor in yesteryears. Instead, now these academic entrepreneurs are working towards creating new technology offices and patenting their prototypes before starting either spin offs or their own small high tech venture business.
Evidently, academic entrepreneurs are on the forefront of all this new change in higher learning educational institutions. Indeed through academic entrepreneurship researches, ventures are being started which are enabling these scholars and their educational institutions to get new streams of money for their day to day operations. In the same vein, that is why the Silicon Valley has managed to do much in the creation of microchips in conjunction with the Stanford University which played a pivotal role in enabling its birth.
Also, another misconception is what entrepreneurship is really all about. In Zimbabwe, being a vendor is quantified and qualified as an entrepreneur which is not necessarily the case for entrepreneurship entails looking for new opportunities and coming up with innovative ideas to make life easier for everyone concerned. At the same time, the entrepreneur realizes his or her profits after having leveraged on the resources that one has whilst factoring and assuming calculated risk. Henceforth, when there is no element of creativity and innovation it is not entrepreneurship but just a small business that one will be doing to make ends meet in this cutthroat world. Indeed, this must be clarified because what distinguishes entrepreneurship from general business management is the ability to creatively innovate products or services in a novel way that will make life bearable for the general masses that would have been facing that particular problem in question for ages on end.
Quite frankly, there is a thin line between entrepreneurship and business management but entrepreneurs take it a little bit further by incorporating calculated risks and being flexible enough to spot and capitalize on opportunities that are present. Needless to say, entrepreneurs are the first movers or game changers before everybody else gets wind of the matter at hand. Speaking of which, that is why the term creative destruction is thrown around nowadays for entrepreneurs they have the aptitude to change the status quo in a blink of an eye.
Accordingly, an entrepreneur might need to be part and parcel of an entrepreneurial team which holds the same vision as him or her. It is said, the more the merrier and this goes for entrepreneurial teams. Consequently, entrepreneurs do not necessarily need to do everything by themselves to prove a point. Actually, by working as a team you will be able to reduce the chances of facing burnt out stress and working yourself to the ground. At the same time, it will hone your skills at delegation and running your own empire. Being your own boss is a dream that can be fulfilled through collectively working together. For that reason, this is why there are incubation hubs so that entrepreneurial teams are in the same confines were they can share the same “team spirit.” With regards to Page and Brin who invented Google or Hewlett and Packard of the “HP” brand amongst others, they worked as a team to see their dreams to fruition. All in all, the old adage that two heads are better than one is correct to the letter and so it is in the case of entrepreneurial teams.
The Godfather of the Silicon Valley, Fredrick Terman who was also a business angel to these good technopreneurial initiatives did believe in entrepreneurial teams. Over and above, the person who can really understand you is the one who will be in the same boat. Similarly, as an entrepreneur you should work with an entrepreneurial team of the same mind so as to do away with this misconception that you should do everything alone from scratch up to the very end.
Most people underestimate the power of social entrepreneurship and how it increases the quality of life for the general masses. The axiom is that technopreneurship is only the best form of entrepreneurship since the world has gone digital. However, l beg to differ because each form of entrepreneurship does serve its purpose equally especially social entrepreneurship. It is started with the sole intent of helping the denizens so that their quality of life can be improved. Once the initiative kickstarts then it will garner more support from the people from all walks of life. A good example is of the Ashoka Fellowship that has blown all over for its good work in trying to improve the way of life of the general populace. Thankfully, this is one form of entrepreneurship that has a force to be reckoned with for it is positively impacting the lives of many people in different countries. Nothing beats solving social problems for people because they are ever present. Nevertheless, the misconception is that most people underestimate this ability of trying to solve people’s problems yet these ones are faced on a daily basis without fail. All things being equal, the misconception is that people haven’t yet realized the full potential and extent of social entrepreneurship in changing the lives of many people. Provided that more social entrepreneurs will take up this doctrine to scale greater heights.
Last but not least, there is a misconception that women entrepreneurship by the females usually is done as a result of push factors. In addition, it is stated that women only engage in the easiest form of entrepreneurship unlike their male counterparts. This is not the case because firstly women can be involved in entrepreneurial activities due to pull factors. Also, some of them have put their foot down in male dominated areas, for example, our very own Zimbabwean, Dr Divine Dhlukula with her Securico brand. For all intents and purposes, gender has nothing to do with the form of entrepreneurship one finds himself or herself doing. What matters most is do you have what it takes? Are you up for the challenge? Are you passionate enough to chase your dreams then the rest will follow regardless of the gender disparity issue.
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Abigirl Phiri is a Ph.D student in commerce, free-lance writer, poet, International Ambassador of Peace, GBV activist, social entrepreneur, talent manager and an international marketer. More of her work can be found on her Facebook Page: Words are forever.