Finnegan's Take

Some entrepreneurs say their drive comes from within while others point to role models who helped them think for themselves

I’m just back from a round-table discussion on whether you can teach entrepreneurship. The room was packed with people who have started their own businesses but there was no real consensus on how to help other do the same.

There were a lot of people saying government should just stay out of it; and that entrepreneurship is something you just can’t teach. But there is also a view that you can teach people to take the initiative and look for innovative solutions.

It reminded me of some of the debates we heard last year during the European Year of Creativity & Innovation. Edward de Bono (an Ambassador for the EYCI) teaches lateral thinking – something that touches on entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. So some kind of training seems possible. Mentoring schemes also seem useful given that teachers are not always natural entrepreneurs.

I’ve posted a question on the SME Week LinkedIn Group inviting people to have their say on whether entrepreneurship can be taught. And, if so, who should teach it? I propose publishing the responses in an article on EurActiv. If you want to chip in, post a reply here or on LinkedIn.

One barrier to teaching entrepreneurship (apart from the lack of EU competence in this area) seems to deciding what to call it. Should it be entrepreneurship? Creativity? Initiative? Innovation? Or should we just be teaching science, business studies, geography etc. in a more open-minded way?

For more SME Week coverage on EurActiv, check out our Enterprise & Jobs section

Happy SME Week

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  1. A very interesting debate that you launched here. The background question is whether or not you can teach in theory something that is to apply in a very practical manner. The French word “entreprendre” has the idea of “proceeding”, “taking on” or beginning a task. Many initiatives were started over the last year with the aim of teaching topics related to entrepreneurship, especially within the European stakeholders sphere. A lot of those initiatives involve at some point practical action.. Eager to see how this debate goes on!

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