To be or not to be an entrepreneur –

Just received a very interesting and cautionary tale from Andrew Corbett, Skillfair membership director – – worth a read for those involved in stimulating entrepreneurship!

I had a very interesting meeting yesterday with a couple of directors from a substantial and well-established business information publisher and towards the end we got to talking about possible ‘overheating’ in the business support world around the subject of ‘ENTREPRENEURS’.  (innovation, startups and apprenticeships could have come into this discussion but we left those for another time).

One of the publishers had been to an event which a well-known ‘enterprise’ organisation was running and was talking to some young people who had come along to hear about enterprise and being a entrpreneur.  What emerged was a sense that there was a job called entrepreneur which one could simply apply for.  One girl, when asked what sort of business she might start replied “one that pays a lot of money” and when gently probed for what this business  might DO she replied “I don’t know, that’s what I have come along to find out”.  Is that fair enough or does it point to an expectation that because you had seen a lot of people on the telly who were described as entrepreneurs and who looked pretty satisfied with themselves that a toss-up between X-factor artiste, big brother contestant and entrepreneur was a pretty straightforward way to be successful.

Actually, with the sheer quantity of media noise around the subject and a number of notable cheerleaders for ‘entrepreneur or die trying’ would make it seem reasonable that a choice between ‘being’ Beyonce (an American female singer) and being Richard Branson (a wealthy British corporate oligarch) should replace ‘hairdresser’ and ‘tyre-fitter’ as obvious jobs to go into.

Meanwhile, back at the enterprise event – another girl said “I want to have my own business but first I want to go and work in someone else’s business so I can learn how it all works”.   Seems eminently more likely to be successful than first answer, we concurred.

Picture this:  Spotty youth swaggers into Job Centre Plus “Oi mate! Where’s the cards for all them entrepreneurs job then?”

I realise that the job market is very tough for school-leavers but nevertheless, I do hope all this cheerleading for ‘Entrepreneur or die trying’ isn’t risking ruining impressionable young lives!