Who Wants to be an Entrepreneur?

A few weeks ago, Reza Satchu was a guest speaker in our Corporate Strategy class. Truly a very successful entrepreneur, one of the first questions Reza asked us was “who wants to be an entrepreneur?” When the majority of the class raised their hands, he changed his question to “who does not want to be an entrepreneur?” Only one brave student put up her hand and consequently had to defend her position on why she did not want to be an entrepreneur.

This got me thinking, if I really wanted to be an entrepreneur. I certainly admired entrepreneurs for their drive, passion and endurance and I even dabbled a bit into entrepreneurship but do I really want to be one? Majority of my work experience has been for large corporations both for-profit and non-profit. Becoming an entrepreneur and/or a self-employed consultant has always been in the back of my mind but never a thought that I had entertained widely.

If you have ever watched the popular Canadian show Dragons’ Den, you will know that becoming a successful entrepreneur is more than just having a good idea or seizing the right opportunity. As I was reminded in a recent Organizational Design class, it is also about raising money and, I believe, highly about execution. We all have good ideas and can pick out the right opportunity but to actually be able to execute on a business plan takes a lot of skill.

I honestly don’t consider myself a creative/innovative person and so I’m not banking on the fact that I will come up with a great idea and/or find the right opportunity to seize. But I believe strongly in the concept of execution and I enjoy helping others execute on their plans and bringing my own taste to their concept. I like to build on an idea to make it better than come up with the original idea. I don’t know if this is typical of an MBA student or at least if any MBA student would actually admit to this, but this is where I’m headed right now.

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But I do highly respect entrepreneurship and would love to bring entrepreneurial concepts to the corporate world. Reza mentioned in our class that corporations do not “reward employees to revolutionize their organization”. I agree with this statement and would love to find a way to reward and recognize employees in a large corporation to do just that. I also want to encourage employees to execute on their ideas to revolutionize and love how Seth Godin’s new book, Poke the Box, does exactly that. Basically, how can we combine entrepreneurship and a large corporation? Is it possible or does the traditional organizational design of large corporations inhibit that?

Lastly, a quick callout to some great programs in place right here in Toronto that support entrepreneurs:

  • The Next 36 – an initiative started by Reza himself to help fledgling entrepreneurs get their first break and
  • Entrepreneurship 101 – a free basics curriculum for budding entrepreneurs on how to start their own business. The resources within these sessions are invaluable.

Both programs are held at MaRSDD one of my favourite places to visit and interact with and maybe someday work at!

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