What makes a successful entrepreneur?

“What makes a successful entrepreneur?” I was asked, and “how does Camp BizSmart encourage and develop an entrepreneurial mindset, in the young people who participate in our business and entrepreneurship academy?”

The Wall Street Journal report, The Entrepreneur’s DNA, highlights excerpts of Hal Gregersen’s (Professor of innovation and leadership, Insead graduate business school) discussion on this topic at the Unleashing Innovation conference. I am going to pull out a couple of statements from the article and use them to make a point but I encourage you to read the entire report.

What researchers say:

One-third of our creative capacity is DNA – the other two-thirds is the world we grow up in and work in. So if you start with the one-third advantage as mentioned above, the other two-thirds is influenced and developed by others around you as well as your environment and experiences. This has significance for both those who are both born with creative DNA and those who were not.

Let’s say you were born with the creative DNA. That is only just the beginning, as the article goes on to say the opportunities we give our children to observe, to network and experiment and hang out with people who don’t look, think or act just like you is important to developing this entrepreneurial DNA. Zeroing in on what each innovator that was interviewed for the study had in common: they had adults in their lives who paid attention to and encouraged development of their skills when they were growing up, and they believe it made all the difference.

Remember the old saying, “You are known by the company you keep? Well, this takes it further to say, and I will paraphrase, “The innovators that were interviewed had individuals in their lives while growing up that encouraged the development of their abilities, skills and knowledge and they credit them for making all the difference!”

The article states that there is a link between the early development and encouragement of creative spark and the innovative chief executives who lead innovative companies. What is the constant thread throughout? These innovative executives spend their time asking provocative questions, observing the world like anthropologists, networking with people who don’t think, act or talk like them. They are willing to experiment and try new things. And not a surprise, they say – you have to live it – the innovative CEO puts into practice these behaviors and an environment that sets the stage for others to do the same sorts of things.

Howard Charney shares wisdom and inspires Camp BizSmart students

To solve the big challenges in the world today we must encourage the provocative questions that will lead to disruptive innovations. At Camp BizSmart students are mentored by successful entrepreneurs like Howard Charney, Kevin Surace, Ned Tozun, Maigread Eichten, and more, who are role models. We create an environment where students will gain the knowledge they need to take on the challenge that they are asked to solve, and in doing so they will develop the skills and abilities that help top develop and nurture innovation and entrepreneurial DNA. We invite you to see the innovative solutions students have designed and supported to address the real business case challenges they were given by the companies that work with us on the Camp BizSmart blog.

If you know a student who is 11-15 years of age and you see in them that creative spark, tell them about Camp BizSmart where our objective is to develop their entrepreneurial spirit further.

Learn more about our 2013 summer sessions.

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