3.5 Debate Exists on How (or whether It’s Possible) to Identify Entrepreneurs

Not everyone is an entrepreneur. Identifying those young people who exhibit innate entrepreneurial characteristics would facilitate YEO program investment. The challenge lies in identifying people especially in contexts where many people become “entrepreneurs of necessity” in order to survive. Different opinions exist in the field. Box 3.5.1 highlights different approaches within the field.

3.5.1 Hot Topic: Can You Identify a Potential Entrepreneur?

  • Some use tests. ManpowerGroup has developed a series of psychometric tests that can be used to identify entrepreneurial characteristics such as creativity and intuition).
  • Others rely on business competitions to judge an entrepreneur and their pitch. Make Mine a Million $, (highlighted in Box 3.3.1) designs competitions that identify women and women-owned businesses with high potential for growth.
  • While others filter out non-entrepreneurs through “soft hurdles.” Through Solar Sister’s micro-consignment model (highlighted in the chapter on Micro Consignment), true entrepreneurs increase sales volumes while others can exit the program without defaulting on a loan. This eases the process of identifying entrepreneurs and makes experimentation less risky for those with limited capital.
  • Still others believe that there is no easy way to identify entrepreneurs. Youth Business International has learned that initial impressions and appearances can be deceiving. Many people don’t seem like entrepreneurs until they successfully start a new business.

What do you think? Can you identify entrepreneurs or not?