Entrepreneurship is not something that you can be taught.
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That's the frequent comment you hear from students as they scratch off the line that says "Entrepreneurship 101" from the list of classes offered each semester.
The fact is, that statement is quite true. No one is going to teach you, or give you a step-by-step guide, on how to set up your own business. It's not about teaching you to become more creative in coming up with ideas for your business. It doesn't serve to guide you to think like an entrepreneur. These qualities are ones that you need to develop on your own.
No class can show you exactly what you need to do in order to succeed. That is achieved through sheer hard work, creative ingenuity, extensive research, and plenty of trials. Successful entrepreneurs are different in their own ways, and the idea is to let your own personality shine through. An old word of advice – Do what you like.
What the entrepreneurship class can teach you are things that you should keep in mind while forming your own company. It teaches you possible ways of raising funds, organising your financial structure, how to manage growth, the role of venture capitalists, valuation of companies, acquisitions, and building strategies. All in all, it touches on a full range of business topics from strategy, to finance, accounting, and marketing.
It shows you likely problems that entrepreneurs face, and my formulating your own opinions for case discussions, you can better prepare yourself to handle tricky issues in the real world.
So what sort of people take classes on entrepreneurship?
1. Those who want to become entrepreneurs
Students who want to become entrepreneurs after they graduate, or at some point in their careers. They could also be interested in testing the waters while they are still in school, perhaps by setting up an online retail shop to suss out the market.
Those in this category do need to remember that you're not paying the school to ensure the success of your future business. You are there to soak up the technical details and to understand how a business works as a whole. So do your readings and make your decisions during discussions – this will greatly benefit you when you are faced in similar dilemmas when your business is in operation.
2. Those who want to join venture capital firms
Taking the entrepreneurship class is also a great way to get to know how a venture capital fund works. It gives some insights into how they are structured and managed, who invests in these funds, in whose business the venture capitalists invest in, and the motivations behind their decisions.
3. Those who want to add value to the family business
Some students are fortunate enough to have a legacy of entrepreneurship in their family tree. These students may want to help grow the family business or learn more concepts about running a business, in the hope of being able to apply these concepts in the near future. The entrepreneurship class, through its case studies, can also teach you how to analyse a company's business model and its strategic framework for expansion and growth, helping you to evaluate your position against your competitors.
Taking that entrepreneurship class doesn't instantly make you a start-up expert, but it does inspire you to take that first step to becoming an entrepreneur in your own right. You will also discover that there are numerous types of new ventures, and this class may be useful in showing you the possibilities, after which you choose what is right for you.