The Switch: how do you know?

Marianne Abib-Pech wants to know what makes an entrepreneur

That is the question that has been playing in my head for the last couple of days. It was my friend Jason who triggered it. I was spending my usual two days a week at the Idea Engineering Agency office in East London and was having a chat with Jason - a very successful 30-something entrepreneur.

“I am ready to pivot and create a new company,” Jason was saying.

‘’How long ago did you start your current company?’’ I asked, casually.

‘‘Eleven years ago’’, he replied without flinching.

I paused. ‘’Hold on a second, you started when you were... er... 23?’’

And off I went down memory lane. At 23, I was just finishing my business degree. I was making my first approach to Arthur Andersen with a view to taking my first step up the corporate ladder. I was far, far from thinking about setting up my own business!

Jason and I have pretty similar backgrounds and personalities, so I started pondering on the following question: is entrepreneurship natured or nurtured?

Do some of us have a more natural ability to be entrepreneurial? And if the answer is yes - and in my mind it is a resounding yes - why is that? Without being too afraid of generalization, let’s look at some possible answers.

Is it because entrepreneurs are inherently more creative?

I would think not. Every corporation will have business development or strategy departments to serve this purpose: to unleash creativity, to foster different thinking and to promote problem solving in their people. You could challenge whether these actually serve their purposes, but that is for another discussion.

Is it because they are more comfortable with risk-taking and more willing to assume the consequences of their actions?

Not exactly. Accountability, delivery and performance are the cornerstones of any Fortune 500 Company culture. Trust me, I have tested quite a lot of them. My last boss, a feisty and incredibly talented 50-something Dutchman had quite a neat way to call on your accountability. ‘’What if it was your bicycle shop? What would you do?” we would often hear him say.

Is it actually because they are free spirits?

Is it because they aren’t as desperate to conform as anybody else because they are different?

Or even... (begging their forgiveness...)

Is it because, ultimately, they are control freaks?

Perhaps you have already guessed my answer. It’s yes, to all of the above! I have been around entrepreneurs my entire professional life, watching them with a certain degree of envy at times and with a touch of disdain at others. From my very successful friend, a Luxembourg-based venture capitalist who recently bought Renault F1, to the Russian partners I did business with last year, the entrepreneurs I have known see the world in a different way. They see opportunities, they see what they want to see and they see what they want to achieve. The force of their intent is impressive and above all they need flexibility and a life on their terms.

So now it’s over to you: what do you think defines an entrepreneur in three words? Start with a little bit of introspection, follow with a little bit of observation, and then let me know. The person who comes up with best definition will be quoted in my next column. Submit your definition on our Twitter.

Looking forward to hearing from you. Best,

Marianne







Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary TA - West London - Autumn

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

AER Teachers: Graduate Secondary TA - West London

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Surrey - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Croy...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Marketing & Social Media Executive

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a Marketing Graduate or...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests