Entrepreneurs: Made or born?

Entrepreneurs are often seen as a breed apart when in fact many start out in corporate life, learning the ropes of business before striking out on their own. That’s one of the key findings of a new Ernst & Young report, Nature or nurture: Decoding the entrepreneur. Based on a survey of 685 entrepreneurs around the world, the report challenges many stereotypes about these high-achieving individuals. Many ranked the experience of being an employee as an important source of learning. “Nurture not nature does appear to be more important in shaping the entrepreneurial mindset,” says Ernst & Young’s Maria Pinelli. That said, she concludes that “most successful entrepreneurs share a unique combination of seeing opportunity where others see risk.” That view is echoed in research by Wharton finance professor, Nikolai Roussanov, into the entrepreneurial mindset. “They weigh risks and outcomes differently,” he notes, which leads to atypical, but rational, conclusions about risks and opportunities. “Contrary to common perception, entrepreneurs are not less averse to taking chances – they simply view relative hazards with a different eye.”


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