Origins of Entrepreneurship

From Sylvia Parsons, intern with Handshake Media, Incorporated, a VT KnowledgeWorks member company:

It's the age old question of nature v. nurture:  Are entrepreneurs born or raised? Although it seems the safest answer, I have to say both.

Are the origins of entrepreneurship in nature? Initially, I was inclined to agree with and state that entrepreneurs are born. At least one might be born with the entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve had the itch since childhood – always creating and innovating new games and inventions. Now, as I complete Graduate School, I know I will not be satisfied until I lead my own enterprise. Even then, I will always be driven toward more. I speak to woman entrepreneurs, and many echo the same sentiment. Some people just can’t shake that self-starter attitude.

As I learned through a discussion with Better Agreements, Inc. Director, T’aiya Shiner, drive alone is not enough. To create the wealth and growth necessary for success, one must also possess (or leverage a team that possesses) business sense, administrative tact, and communication skills. Anyone born with all these skills is a destined powerhouse.

So does that mean everyone else with a good idea or desire to be self-employed should just throw in the towel?

Of course not. 

Some people can be born with the spirit and never actualize it into entrepreneurship. Others have what Thomas Harrison, author of Instinct, describes as “latent traits” of the spirit and don’t even know it.

Or nurture? I am writing a series of blog posts on women entrepreneurs because I am ready to take the first step. As my mentor, Handshake Media, Inc. founding President/CEO, Anne Giles Clelland, demonstrates, through self-reflection, one can address personal challenges and leverage strengths to become a powerhouse.  

The learning curve may be steep, but armed with determination and the right tools, it can be climbed.


Sylvia Parsons will complete her Master's Degree from Virginia Tech in Human Development in the fall of 2009.  She is an intern with Handshake Media, Inc., and with Better Agreements, Inc. "There's Something About Her," the series by Sylvia Parsons, can be found on Handshake 2.0 under Women Entrepreneurs. Feel free to follow Sylvia Parsons on Twitter.

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