Entrepreneurs: Born Or Made? Identifying The Vital Ingredient


By Michael Hayman, Co-founder, Seven Hills

You certainly know when you have met a great entrepreneur. Elizabeth Taylor put it like this, “there is no deodorant like the smell of success.”

For entrepreneurs, behind the success story are usually years of effort, a mix of triumph and tragedy, inner belief and determination, a formula for life that has carried them through.

A key question is whether these people are born or made; is there a special entrepreneur gene or can you teach people to acquire successful habits?

I chaired a recent debate for Coutts & Co and this question flared up into quite a discussion.



...of the panelists, Sunday Times Enterprise Editor Rachel Bridge, addressed it this weekend and wants to start a debate. I think that she should be supported, as it is a big question.

My suspicion is that most entrepreneurs believe that they were born with the skill, that it had more to do with nature than nurture.

I say this because I believed it also. When Nick Giles and I took the plunge to establish our own business, Seven Hills, it was reassuring to our own sense of self to believe that we had been blessed with something completely unique.

Then we met Dragons’ Den panellist and School for Startups founder, Doug Richard, and a lot of our earlier ideas about entrepreneurship crumbled away. Why? Because no matter how old or experienced you are there is always something new and potentially advantageous to learn.

My view now is that everyone is ‘made’ to some degree and that is what learning is all about. Yes, you have to have certain raw materials in place but it is the refinement of these materials that is most interesting.

That is not the same as saying that everyone can be an entrepreneur. With... continued on page two >


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