Dr. Alec Johnson's Posts

Can Entrepreneurship Be Taught?

Of course it can.  There are some who would say entrepreneurs are born, not made, but those folks overlook the fundamental behaviors of successful entrepreneurs – most notably – to actively identify and manage risk.

I’ve spent decades discussing risk with entrepreneurs, and contrary to the romantic hollywood-inspired notion of all entrepreneurs as Vegas-style risk takers, it seems there are at least two categories – some entrepreneurs (successful?) search out points of risk in an opportunity and set about to manage the risk, while other entrepreneurs just don’t see risk and plow forward blindly.  Even this is a dangerous generalization, but one that is more useful.

We can’t teach our students to work 80-100 hours a week, we can’t teach them to be optimistic in the face of dire circumstances, or provide them seemingly endless amounts of energy.  We can’t help them feel comfortable with being solely responsible for making a number of really difficult and important decisions on a regular basis or comfortable with the potential of loosing investors’ trust and money.  Of course we can’t do that.

So what do we offer the student in Entrepreneurship: We give students the tools they need to not just see opportunities in a more comprehensive manner, but the tools to identify and manage risk associated with those opportunities.  We give them critical thinking skills infused with the ability to think creatively that enhances the quality of the decisions they will make.  We inspire them to take that next challenging step and provide them the confidence and support to take it.

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