Can I be an entrepreneur?


One Class Period


Human Capital


Students will:


Entrepreneurs tend to exemplify some unique "packages" of characteristics that tend to distinguish them from other people in the economy. Their principal motivations the need for achievement coupled with a strong desire for independence.

While money is important, and no entrepreneur launches an initiative with the expectation of going broke, the earning of money tends to be a secondary consideration. Money tends to serve more as a barometer of success and accomplishment than as a goal in and of itself.

The following are characteristics that are generally common to entrepreneurs: independent, responsible, goal oriented, self-confident, creative, and willing to take calculated risks, somewhat controllable risks. Deficiencies in any one of these characteristics tend to limit entrepreneurial activity.

The most essential characteristic of an entrepreneur is self-confidence, or what psychologists call "inner control." This is simply a belief in oneself; a belief that one can do it. Entrepreneurs se their ideas worthy of pursuit and themselves capable of seeing the venture through to a successful conclusion. Entrepreneurs are agents of change. If entrepreneurs do not believe in themselves, they are likely to abandon the effort when faced with resistance.

While research has revealed a number of characteristics and traits that are common to successful entrepreneurs, it has also shown that many of the skills and traits of successful entrepreneurs can be required. Entrepreneurs have developed abilities through education, training, experience, apprenticeships, and role-model experience that assist them in their entrepreneurial ventures.

It is important for potential entrepreneurs to acquire personal insight into their own abilities, strengths , and weaknesses. Anyone exploring entrepreneurship should develop a personal profile to focus their abilities and to pursue initiatives compatible with their strengths rather than their weaknesses.




an individual who recognizes opportunities (wants or problems) and uses resources to implement innovative ideas for new, thoughtfully planned ventures

Human Capital

the productive capacities of human beings as income-producing agents in the economy



  1. Ask students to review the characteristics of entrepreneurs that were listed in Lesson 1. (If using Lesson 2 without Lesson 1, ask students to brainstorm characteristics of people who have started successful businesses.)
  2. Distribute Activity 2. After discussing the various traits to assure that students understand their meaning, ask students to place an X in the appropriate box for each trait.

  3. Tabulate the students' ratings of the traits. Add the numbers assigned to each trait by each student. The higher the total figure for each trait, the more important its ranking.

  4. Distribute Activity 3. Compare students' ratings with the list given by entrepreneurs. Numbers in parentheses correspond with numbers on Activity

  5. Discuss the three levels of traits. Be sure that each student is able to define these characteristics.
  6. Distribute Activity 4. Ask students to complete the evaluations of themselves.

  7. Have students compare their entrepreneurial traits with those ranked by entrepreneurs (Activity 3).


As a homework assignment, have students answer this question in a one-page composition: "How Entrepreneurial Am I?"


Used with permission. Master Curriculum Guide: Economics and Entrepreneurship, copyright © 1991,National Council on Economic Education, New York, NY. All rights reserved.For more information visit www.ncee.net or call 1-800-338-1192.

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