Survey Says…Entrepreneurship CAN Be Taught

BusinessWeek published the results Tuesday of a recent survey suggesting that successful entrepreneurs can be taught, and aren’t always born with a start-up gene, à la Bill Gates.

The study, developed for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy by researchers at New York University’s Stern School of Business and NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, polled 5,618 respondents finishing or holding business degrees from five undisclosed American schools in the northeast.

Results, says BW, show that there is a connection between taking classes on entrepreneurship and forming a company with original ideas, as defined by obtaining patents, copyrights, and creating new production techniques.

Here are the key facts and figures mentioned in the piece:

  • 39% of respondents who studied entrepreneurship founded a company, versus 26% who didn’t formally study the topic.
  • 86% of those who said their firms offered new products studied entrepreneurship, but only 18% of those who launched inventive goods said they didn’t study the subject.
  • Among patent or copyright holders, 75% studied entrepreneurship but only 10% learned on the job.
  • 62% of those who said their firms use new production techniques said they took a course in entrepreneurship, versus 28% who didn’t.

So, is the argument settled for good? It’s hard to tell. Even the survey’s authors acknowledge that “those involved in entrepreneurship may have been more likely to complete the survey, as a result of their interest in the subject matter.”


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