Development of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship policy? Is it a mission of the Netherlands? That’s it for us. For us, entrepreneurship means more than registering with the Chamber of Commerce. An entrepreneur, an enterprising entrepreneur, sees opportunities time and time again, seizes them and creates value for himself and the environment. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor was published this week.
This annual international monitor shows that more and more Dutch people plan to start their own business one day. They dream of their own business. An increasing percentage of Dutch people see good opportunities. They see at least one opportunity and want to seize it.
Number of entrepreneurs is increasing
The number of women starting their own business has been rising for years and is one of the reasons for the overall increase in the number of entrepreneurs. This research focuses mainly on the quantity of entrepreneurship and not so much on the quality of entrepreneurship. It is about the possibilities that a country creates to start its own business and how this compares to other countries.
In addition, the growth ambition of companies is also measured. But this too is essentially related to the entrepreneur behind the company. So this is separate from the investment opportunities. This is important to consider when measuring ‘successful’ entrepreneurship policies. It is not only about more, but also about better entrepreneurship.
The same study shows that the Netherlands has relatively more enterprising employees. The personality traits of enterprising employees are more similar to those of self-employed entrepreneurs than to other employees.
For example, many enterprising employees believe that they have the knowledge and skills to set up a company. This is what they plan to do. One-fifth of all entrepreneurial workers plan to start a business within the next three years, according to research. This means that stimulating entrepreneurial behavior within companies leads to more activity.
Space to do business
In the book, “Kzie, kzie wat je niet deze” (2008), I already discussed the necessity and possibilities of developing internal entrepreneurship. This is particularly important in a rapidly changing world. Gert van Brussel recently obtained his PhD on intrapreneurship among the over-45s. His research shows that so-called space is essential as a condition for the development of internal entrepreneurship. According to Van Brussel, space can be filled in via 10 substantive dimensions, including trust, autonomy and development. Important information if you want to move forward as a company and want to stimulate entrepreneurship in your company.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is held every year. This study compares countries on the degree of entrepreneurship present in each country separately. The Netherlands has been participating in the GEM since 2001.
It is a measure of the effectiveness of entrepreneurship policy and labor market developments. You can find the complete research about the Netherlands via the site of the EIM and the complete international GEM research.
The science of entrepreneurial learning
Successful entrepreneurs such as Van Gaal and Van der Most contradict the science about learning to be an entrepreneur and claim that you cannot learn to be an entrepreneur. Of course they are wrong, as scientific research also shows. Annemarie van Gaal ends it: “You can’t learn to run a business. The most important thing is your mentality: it’s death or gladiolus”. In other words, it’s all or nothing.
You really have to go for it and otherwise you better stop, because then it will never work. Hennie van der Most is just as adamant: “You can’t learn entrepreneurship, 100% not. It’s in your blood. Yes, you can learn, but you do that in entrepreneurship itself”. Aha, according to Van der Most you can learn. That gives hope.
You can indeed learn to run a business. By doing business, you learn to do business.
In other words, you just have to start. When asked Van der Most: “What would you have done differently if you could do it all over again?”, he replied that he would have started for himself even earlier. You shouldn’t learn too much, but start for yourself in time, he added. Apparently he now sees what he himself did not do then, or at least that is what he has learned. Van Gaal has also learned a lot, but during the business itself.
Can everyone do business? Well, you do need a certain amount of aptitude and motivation.
You really have to want it, as Van Gaal says. Entrepreneurship is like football. Everyone can kick a ball, but not everyone becomes a professional football player. And even a professional football player has to practice a lot. The sooner you start doing that, the more time there is to practice.
Learning to do business becomes a lot easier with an entrepreneurial coach.
There are recent scientific publications demonstrating the positive effect of entrepreneurial coaching and thus showing that entrepreneurship can be learned. In the IkStartSmart project, for example, in which (local) governments and the business community work together, starting and established entrepreneurs were coached in developing their entrepreneurship. At the end of the project, which lasted about a year, the participants’ entrepreneurship had demonstrably grown. They wanted to take on it with much more confidence in themselves and their entrepreneurship.
In the Netherlands, about 50% of the entrepreneurs who have started will drop out within 5 years.
Most of them have gone out of business and the rest have gone bankrupt. The question is: were they not (good) entrepreneurs, or did they stop too soon? I think most of them stopped too early. Maybe they weren’t all naturals, but they certainly weren’t all goofs either. Some need a push or some good advice. As an entrepreneur you irrevocably encounter yourself. Do you have hard confrontations with yourself.
That means you have to take a good look in the mirror. Dare to acknowledge what your weaknesses are. Because only then will there be room to look for solutions. Every entrepreneur sometimes makes a mistake or takes the wrong step. That’s not a bad thing at all, as long as you learn from it. That’s part of it. Annemarie van Gaal and Hennie van der Most also recognize this.
What are those entrepreneurial competencies you need to become a successful entrepreneur? And how do you learn it, how can you develop it?
In our next blogs we will discuss the most important competences. What do they mean and how can you develop them. These competencies are part of the E-Scan Entrepreneur Test, which gives you direct insight into your entrepreneurial profile.