Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Questions answered? sort of

The other evening, following a long day at work, I and some fellow colleagues trundled down the corridors and passageways of our building to attend a workshop lead by our esteemed colleague and widely acknowledged expert on the subject of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Dr Harry Matlay, Professor of Small Business and Enterprise Development. What followed proved to be a highly entertaining and even a little challenging dipping of the toes into the often complex world of entrepreneurship theory (?)

In this post I will just cover the event, as I saw it (I would like to say for the record that this is my interpretation and the messages I took from it), what happened etc and in a later post I hope to apply some of the stuff that was spoken about and hazard some observations as to how it fits with the Creative Industries sector.

The event was aptly named 'What is Entrepreneurship?' couldn't have come at a better time for me (see earlier post 'entrepre-what?' post) as this has been a question arising again and again since I got involved in this whole creative enterprise gig.

So here's where we got to, it's worth saying that, and Harry eluded to this, that we were somewhat covering the basics and like so many things with every answer came more questions, the answers of which are apparently being saved for a future event.

This was very much a participatory event and throughout we were asked to question our perceptions of what constitutes an entrepreneur:
Is Entrepreneurship about: Risk, state of mind, profit?

Harry went on to describe some 'Rules' of entrepreneurship at all times questioning our understanding against his and acknowledging that there are many opposing views as to what entrepreneurial traits are. But apparently entrepreneurs amongst other things tend to exhibit the following:

- Entrepreneurs are prepared to take risks
- The Entrepreneur manages resources, knowledge and power (as opposed to being an employee and having those things managed by other people)
- They are in pursuit of profit (although this may come in the form of something other than money and lead us to question how do we measure 'other' types of profit? – a point I will be re-visiting)
- Personal satisfaction is a major motivator
- Their relationship to opportunity: they tend to either: seek it, create it or recognise it and presumably exploit it

With a lively audience there was plenty of debate and disagreement around each of these issues and plenty of food for thought for me about the relationship between these attributes and folks from our sector. Accompanying this workshop was a thoroughly researched, well written and apparently award winning paper by Dr Matlay entitled: Researching entrepreneurship and education Part 1: what is entrepreneurship and does it matter? This paper offered up many more potential posts for this blog so watch this space!

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