What is entrepreneurship?
What is an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs are people with big ideas who build and manage businesses from scratch. They spot gaps in the market (in other words, things that don't exist but should!) and come up with ideas to fill them. Once this is done, they take the idea they have and turn that idea into a reality by planning, organising and managing its creation. In short, entrepreneurs "make stuff happen" and are able to make money out of it. Impressive, right?
And the best part is that it’s versatile – an entrepreneur can be anyone from your local cafe owner to the creator of Facebook!
What entrepreneurship jobs can I do?
Because people can build businesses in almost any industry, there are many different types of entrepreneurs. From fashion to charities, an entrepreneur is classified more by what they do rather than where they work. With that in mind, there are a few different "types" of entrepreneurs. Let’s take a look:
- Business: These guys are what most people think of when they hear "entrepreneur". They typically start businesses and organisations with a focus on making money with their great ideas.
- Social: These entrepreneurs are all about changing society in a positive way. Their work is often focused on creating charities and other organisations that are designed to help people. Where a business entrepreneur mostly focuses on financial gain; a social entrepreneur focuses on social gain.
- Project: This one is a bit different and could be applied to both social and business entrepreneurship. Project entrepreneurs work specifically on organising short- or long-term projects that are not permanent business endeavours. Think about one-off music festivals. If someone is involved in creating and organising a series of these they could be considered a project entrepreneur.
And here's the thing: you can be a mixture of all of these! You can be both a business and social entrepreneur – in fact, you'll probably need to be to make a living out of your idea. It all depends on your ideas.
Because entrepreneurs make things happen for themselves, you don't typically find entrepreneur jobs being advertised. But if you've got a great idea and you think you could make a business out of it, you don't have to wait till you leave school – take some inspiration (and tips) from these young entrepreneurs who started their businesses while they were still in education.
Is a career in entrepreneurship for me?
Because you never really know how your business idea will turn out, you will need to have the ability to make well thought out risks. This means you must have good planning and problem solving skills while also having the bravery to "dive in at the deep end".
You will also need good communication and organisation skills, including the ability to work on your own and in a team. Having persistence and drive is also very helpful as you will be the one in charge of making your business dreams a reality.
If you’re constantly coming up with ways to solve problems you see in your day to day life, becoming an entrepreneur might be right for you!
How can I start a career in entrepreneurship?
There are no actual prerequisites for becoming an entrepreneur but there are many things you can do to become a successful one. Gaining knowledge on how businesses work can be especially helpful.
GCSE and A-level
You should think about taking a business related subject such as business studies or economics. Maths can also be helpful when it comes to understanding how money works.
Many entrepreneurs go to uni to study a business degree. This can be a bachelor of business, business administration or business studies. Some universities offer degrees specifically in entrepreneurship.
There are also plenty of short courses you can take to become a successful entrepreneur. Many universities, such as University College London, run one to six-week courses specifically for budding entrepreneurs. There are also plenty of free online courses, too.
It can also be helpful to have qualifications relating the industry you want to start your business in. Say if you wanted to start a restaurant, it would be helpful to have qualifications in hospitality or food and nutrition.
Many entrepreneurs already have successful careers when they go it alone and follow their dream. If you're serious about entrepreneurship but don't have any specific ideas, you could begin a career than improves your commercial awareness, by joining a finance, accountancy or professional services company such as PwC, EY or KPMG.
Nothing beats going ahead and doing some research. If you have an idea for a business, do some investigating. Ask questions about the industry and start building a network of people who can help you. Maybe try some work experience so you can see what running a business is like from the inside?
See how a business is run by getting some work experience – seeing it from the inside will teach you so much more than reading every website on the internet. Check out the latest student work experience opportunities now.
What entrepreneurship qualifications are available?
Depending on what you do, you can eventually gain an NVQ or BTEC in business innovation management, business and administration, enterprise and entrepreneurship or a diploma in management. Many professional institutes, such as the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs, offer professional qualifications for those thinking about or already running their own business. The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy also offers a variety of BTECs in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.
Did you know these entrepreneurship facts?
The word entrepreneur comes from the Old French word, entreprendre, meaning "to undertake". When it came to English, entrepreneur originally used to mean "manage or promoter of a theatrical production". Oh, how it's changed!
If you're interested in studying a business or entrepreneurship course at university, take a look at our list of UK universities to see which ones offer the course you're interested in.