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Exposing the myths about being an entrepreneur

November 12, 2010 by Rachel Miller

It’s Global Entrepreneurship Week this week and, now in its third year, the event is bigger than ever.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is all about inspiring and galvanizing would-be entrepreneurs and supporting them with training and mentors.

Here in the UK, we do need a bit of a kick up the backside it seems. While research show that over fifty per cent of us think we’ve got what it takes to run a business, only 5.8 per cent of us are in the process of setting up in business right now. That might sound a lot – it does to me – but compare that to eight per cent in the United States and a whopping 19 per cent in China.

So what’s stopping us?

The organisers of Global Entrepreneurship Week believe that five myths about setting up in business create significant stumbling blocks for would-be entrepreneurs. They are hoping to blow these myths wide open this week:

  1. Entrepreneurs are born and not made
  2. Entrepreneurship is a solo activity
  3. There is a stereotype of a typical entrepreneur
  4. Entrepreneurship is only about profit
  5. You need lots of money to start a business.

These so-called myths are part of the age-old debate about what makes an entrepreneur. But the fact is that, like it or not, the very word does conjour up a stereotype – the maverick inventor like James Dyson, the business pioneer like Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the empire builder like Richard Branson.

Sadly, there seems to be a consensus that you can’t be called an entrepreneur unless you’ve proved yourself by making your millions. And increasingly, you have to be famous too. In other words, you have to be a business A-lister.

And yet it is the continual innovating, risk-taking and sheer grafting of anyone that sets up a business that should earn them the title entrepreneur.

Like many such events, Global Entrepreneurship Week is being supported by a host of entrepreneurial A-listers, headed by Dragon Peter Jones. But what’s great is that it is also very much on the ground, with 36,000 events in the UK alone and business people of all kinds offering their services as mentors.

So let’s hope this week does kick-start a new era of entrepreneurship – one that embraces businesses of all shapes and sizes.

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