Can you study entrepreneurship?
STRAIGHT UP CHAT WITH AUSTRALIA’S LEADING BUSINESS BRAIN.
It may sound like signing up for a course in ‘How to be a Billionaire’ – or a field of study Rodney Dangerfield would take on yet another return to a filmic college – but degrees in entrepreneurship are now being offered at institutions such as the University of Sydney, Melbourne’s RMIT and Perth’s Curtin University. So, does Bouris believe entrepreneurial skills, and drive, are things you can learn in school? Or, are they gifts only a lucky few are born with?
People need to know that being an entrepreneur is not something you simply walk in to. For a start, you need to have a spirit of entrepreneurship – and you can’t learn that, it’s something you either have or you don’t. Beyond that, however, you defnitely need certain skills and this skill set can be taught. Think of it like this – the spirit will drive you, but the skill comes into play with the point of execution. I recently ran a pitch day for Uber and had 10,000 requests in a 24-hour period from people with really strong ideas. But after looking at about 60 pitches, it became clear that there’s a massive amount of skill missing in regards to people knowing how to pitch correctly. I actually think pitching an idea is a skill kids should learn in their fnal years at school – it’s something that has to be explained and taught, because the frst step in getting a great idea off the ground, about making a market and people aware of it, involves articulating it. To be perfectly honest, I don’t like the word entrepreneurship – I like to call it innovation. See, I’m an entrepreneur but I’m always innovating – be it in fnancial services, in biotech research, in entertainment. For me it’s about how I’m innovating and how I’m going to execute a certain thing. The central reason for this newfound focus on entrepreneurship is technology – it’s allowing us to do things we simply couldn’t do 20 years ago. Now, you can establish an idea after hours – after a day of work you can be in your living room, developing your own website from your own resources. And today, any entrepreneurial idea will have a facet of technology attached to it – sometimes it’s a small part, sometimes it’s the whole thing, but it’s always a component. Entrepreneurship in Australia is going to be a big deal in the future because we can’t rely on resources and house prices – it’s going to be about ideas. We have a new PM who regularly talks about innovation being key to our country’s future and a $1.1bn commitment in federal funding to support local innovation. So, studying entrepreneurship is a good idea, though as to who should teach it, I don’t think we want old-school risk-takers like Donald Trump or Clive Palmer. No, the innovator of today – people who should be teaching these courses – are the likes of 24-year-old Genevieve George, who runs job site Oneshift, John Winning of Appliances Online or Ruslan Kogan [CEO of kogan.com]. To become an entrepreneur involves learning a lot. Ultimately, though, you need to make sure you have that spirit, that internal drive, or it won’t work out. Gain more no-nonsense business and financial insights with Bouris’ weekly podcasts at markbouris.com.au
“FOR A START, YOU NEED TO HAVE A SPIRIT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP– AND YOU CAN’T LEARN THAT, IT’S SOMETHING YOU EITHER HAVE OR YOU DON’T.”