Are Entrepreneurs “born” entrepreneurs?


One might describe an entrepreneur as an independent thinker, an innovator, or perhaps a risk taker. Entrepreneurial employees are passionate enough to work out of their garages if that’s what it takes to get the company up and running. Consider Bill Gates, who was so enthusiastic about computers that he dropped out of Harvard University to pursue his vision. It is rarely mentioned that most entrepreneurs are an exception rather than a norm and that their success is a result of carefully executing an appropriate plan to commercialise what inherently is a solid business idea.

Some myths still surround our understanding of entrepreneurs. “Entrepreneurs are born, not made!” This myth is based on the mistaken belief that some people are genetically predisposed to be entrepreneurs. The consensus of many hundreds of studies on the psychological and sociological makeup of entrepreneurs is that the latter are not genetically different from other people. This evidence can be interpreted as meaning no one is “born” to be an entrepreneur and that everyone has the potential to become one.

In his autobiography, the Irish entrepreneur Billy Cullen (2003) tells the story of how, as an 8 year old boy, he demonstrated sharp entrepreneurial skills. In a poverty stricken area of Dublin, young Billy would buy wooden crates of apples for a shilling and then sell the apples on a Saturday afternoon to local people who would come to watch their people play football. This provided Billy a healthy profit, if he could sell all the apples. But his entrepreneurial skills didn’t stop here. He would then take the wooden apple boxes to the football ground and sell them to people at the back of the crowds so that they could stand on the box for a better view, and finally he would collect the boxes at the end of the match and sell them in bundles for firewood.

Mr. Yusuff Ali M.A., Managing Director of LuLu Group, ranks today among the top business personalities. The group has diversified into many significant areas under his dynamic stewardship. His astute business vision and strategic mind have evolved ambitious growth plans for the Group and ensured their materialisation through a team of people who share his drive and dynamism.

Hence, a good blend of practice and understanding of ‘what and how to do’ enables a commoner too, to develop into an entrepreneur and grow into a flourishing business. Last but not least, it is key to mention that entrepreneurs substantially contribute to the growth and sustainability of UAE’s economy.