What Makes an Entrepreneur?

Not everyone is well suited to the task of starting and running a successful business. That has been a topic for investigation, speculation, and research since the time of Joseph Schumpeter's (1883 - 1950) writings. Schumpeter argued that the innovation and technological change of a nation comes from the entrepreneurs, or wild spirits. Schumpeter came down squarely on the side of the personal individual characteristics associated with entrepreneurs as being the determinative factor. In addition to Schumpeter's idea of the wild entrepreneurial spirit, psychologists have since proposed various critical personal characteristics as being decisive. Some of these characteristics are:
  1. A personal need for achievement,
  2. the trust in the importance of personal effort on business outcomes,
  3. self-confidence,
  4. the desire for control,
  5. willingness to take risks,
  6. tolerance for ambiguity, and
  7. decisiveness.
A new study available from the World Bank suggest that family characteristics, or upbringing, have the strongest influence on becoming an entrepreneur. You can find that report here.


Investing in people

With little fanfare, Grameen America opened up shop in the United States about a year ago. Grameen America is a microfinance lending company that serves poor, aspiring entrepreneurs. Microfinance is for micro-enterprises, which are generally defined by governments as a business having 5 or fewer employees and seed capital of less than $35,000. Micro-enterprises have no access to the commercial banking sector, and typically they are single individuals with no capital at all. Grameen America offers loan amounts from $500 to $3,000 coupled with training and peer circle to maximize the chance of business success and loan repayment. Grameen America is built upon the success and experienced staff of Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, which was created by Dr. Muhammad Yunus. They were the joint recipients of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for their pioneering work in mircofinance as a tool to fight poverty. A March 10, 2008 Washington Post article gives an interesting view of the progress that has been made by Grameen America in New York City during its first year of operation there. Small Loans, Significant Impact Read more about it: Microcredit Summit Campaign Wikipedia - Grameen Bank Defeating Global Poverty - Grameen comes to the USA