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What Is an Entrepreneur and Characteristics of an Entrepreneur?

Essay by   •  May 13, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  2,156 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,454 Views

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Entrepreneurship can be looked at in many different ways therefore there it is difficult to give only one clear definition. Watson (2011) believes that entrepreneurship is a process through which individuals identify opportunities, allocate resources, and create value. Entrepreneurship is strongly linked with economic growth. It produces employment which then leads to the creation of wealth. Entrepreneurial activity creates opportunities to maintain and secure jobs. In today's society entrepreneurial activity is of significant relevance to most governments as the benefits to the economy are vast. Research shows that a combination of personal, societal, business, economic and wider environmental factors all contribute to entrepreneurship.

What is an Entrepreneur?

The word entrepreneur originates from the French word entreprende which means to 'undertake' or 'the one who takes between'(REFERENCE). Entrepreneurs can be defined as those who create and grow new enterprises and demonstrate characteristics of risk taking and innovation (Goodbody Economic Consultants, 2002). They are the people who can see the profitable opportunities for exchange (Deakins, 2003). Entrepreneurs take risks in order to receive their reward which in many cases would be money (REFERENCE).

Characteristics of an Entrepreneur?

According to a study that was carried out by Goodbody Economic Consultants in November of 2002, a number of common characteristics and backgrounds were found among Irish entrepreneurs that were similar to their international counterparts. These common characteristics include a need to achieve a willingness to exploit an opportunity, perseverance, hard working and driven by self belief, the ability to be flexible and to delegate to others when necessary. A willingness to listen to advice and to recognise that they are not experts in every aspect of their business was also found to be a very important characteristic in turning a potential entrepreneur into a successful business person. It has also been noted that women face additional issues in becoming entrepreneurs. Women have been known to find it difficult to balance their home life with their work life. This then creates problems which lead to lower confidence and self esteem. The findings of the study also show that negative attitudes from male co-workers work as a barrier to female entrepreneurship in Ireland.

Entrepreneurship in Ireland is mainly supported by national bodies such as Enterprise Ireland. Their aim is to assist the entrepreneur by removing barriers that may cause the entrepreneur to withdraw from their business plan. They offer finance and guidance which is crucial at any start up phase in a business. Entrepreneurship is necessary in Ireland in order to decrease the need for foreign investment. Ireland ought to move forward and strongly encourage entrepreneurship so that it can become self sufficient from multi nationals.

Entrepreneurship plays a major role in the economy of Ireland. Entrepreneurship is so much more than just increasing output and income for the population. It develops change in society and the structure of business in Ireland. Innovation is key in the process of entrepreneurship. If innovation is used it can help the way Ireland competes in certain areas. However it is believed that in order for entrepreneurship to help the growth of a country it needs to be taught through education to some extent. There is a strong association between education and entrepreneurs. Studies have shown that the majority of entrepreneurs in Ireland have third level qualifications. However according to Goodbody Economic Consultants (2002) entrepreneurs state that the Irish educational system played a very limited role in their practice to date. Education in entrepreneurship on the other hand has become huge in Europe in recent years. So much so that a section of the Lisbon Treaty was dedicated to entrepreneurship. The Brussels European Council (2006) stated that 'underlines the need of creating an overall positive entrepreneurial climate and of appropriate framework conditions that facilitate and encourage entrepreneurship and therefore invites the Member States to strengthen respective measures including through entrepreneurship education and training at the appropriate level of education' (Cooney and Hill, 2006). Entrepreneurship education in Ireland is only available to third level students. Up until recently entrepreneurship was only taught to business studies students or business related courses. However this is an ongoing change throughout third level colleges and universities in Ireland as today entrepreneurship is offered to other courses such as Engineering, Early Childhood Studies and Community Sports and Leadership. This is of great importance as unfortunately not all of the graduates will receive employment in their desired field. Therefore there is a huge need for entrepreneurial activity amongst them. Rather than seeking financial aid from the government i.e. social welfare, young men and women will now have the necessary skills and tools that they have learned to think outside the box and become entrepreneurs. They have the opportunity to create their own employment whereas they may not have done so before being educated on entrepreneurship. This type of training ought to exist across the academic board in order to help Ireland's economy grow.

In 2009 the former Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan launched a report regarding entrepreneurship in the third level sector. The report was led by the Dundalk Institute of Technology and was assisted by other institutes across Ireland. This indicates that across Ireland there is a growing interest in to the importance of entrepreneurship in the economy. One of the findings of the report was that 78% of undergraduate students surveyed expressed an interest in starting their own business at some point in the future. Another finding appeared to be that there was a lack of communication about entrepreneurial supports and policies. It was also noted that higher education institutions need to adopt a framework to embed entrepreneurship education across all disciplines and finally the need for experiential learning, not theory based lectures, would most benefit entrepreneurial students was also highlighted. Mary Coughlan responded to these findings by saying that 'Central to maximizing the job creation potential of our investment in the smart economy is the fostering of a new entrepreneurial culture in Ireland. Key to achieving this is ensuring that, through our approach to education and training across all levels, we empower our workforce with the confidence and skills set necessary so that each individual can be considered a potential entrepreneur. The GEM Reports have shown

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