The word entrepreneurship was never used or even heard of prior to the 1900’s but it’s a word that every
economy in the world can’t leave out since the turn of this century. Even its meaning has been redefined many times over that the last I checked it is understood to mean as someone who is starting a business.

In the old days, when someone is starting a business he is known simply as a business-owner or ‘tauke’ in our local community. Regardless of his entrepreneurial skills, he is either a successful business-owner or a lousy one. People attribute his success to his business acumen. But unlike today, much emphasis is being placed on entrepreneurship.

So what is the difference between business skills and entrepreneurial skills? For those who can tell the difference, will you agree with me that while we are able to acquire business skills, how it is possible for us to acquire entrepreneurial skills? Therefore, while it is possible to train someone to be a business-owner, how it is possible to train an entrepreneur?

Business skills are hard skills that can be taught but entrepreneurial skills are soft skills that we are born with or without, period. Therefore, while we can encourage more people to be a business-owner, it will need a comprehensive infrastructure and the right eco-system to nurture entrepreneurship and ultimately, develop more entrepreneurs for the economy.

Anyone can be a business-owner by merely setting-up a new business but not everyone can be an entrepreneur. Starting a business doesn’t make one to be an entrepreneur. It will take more than six strategic thrusts, 20 plus strategies and over 50 initiatives to produce entrepreneurs or create entrepreneurship and mind-set. It goes beyond the strategic thrusts, strategies and initiatives. We must be talking about the whole culture and mind-set change. It starts from early education. As early as when one is born and has the ability to learn.

Simply by having access to a tennis court, going to a few training sessions and dressing up as a tennis player does not make one a good tennis player. One will surely lose when thrown into the Centre Court to compete with the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the rest of the professional players. Great players like Federer and Nadal grew up practicing and playing tennis. Most importantly, they have the greatest desire to play tennis.

Similarly, if we merely encourage more people to start doing business, then we should expect more start-ups to fail since they simply do not have the right fundamental or substance to be in business.

God bless MSMEs!