At first sight, the answer to the above question may seem obvious. Of course, entrepreneurship cannot be taught. It is all about personal motivation, ambition, drive and ability to execute on a vision, dream or identified opportunity. I completely agree with this – successful entrepreneurs are not created in business schools or at universities. But I would still argue that there is plenty to do for schools, universities and other public institutions when it comes to teaching and even more so promoting entrepreneurship.
I am a strong believer in role models. Not everyone is born an entrepreneur but with the right motivation or inspiration many can become one. As an example, I just read an interview with Niklas Zennström in Veckans Affärer and I have a hard time seeing anyone reading it and not wanting to become an entrepreneur.
When I went to university we did not meet a single entrepreneur, but we met lots of people from management consulting firms, financial institutions and large industries. And even though many didn’t feel that these companies provided exactly what we wanted from an employer, most ended up there anyway. But a few years later when the IT-boom was in full swing and companies were founded and funded right and left, it was a big eye opener for many of us and today many of my student friends have started their own companies.
There are also plenty of areas that could be very useful to learn about before starting a company. How does one actually start a company? What means of financing are available? How to protect an idea or test if it’s unique or not? How can I get going without having to invest heaps of money in hardware and software. This stuff can be taught just as well as how to cook (yupp, we actually have classes like this at least in Sweden) or write an essay.
So my 2 cents would be that entrepreneurship as in actually making the move to start something on your own cannot be taught. But a solid foundation about how to start a company and inspiration and motivation from entrepreneurs could certainly be provided to a much larger extent that currently.