Now that I have been around in Oxford for over a year, I have begun to hear the same excuses again. I ask, “Why wouldn’t you do a course on entrepreneurship?” And I hear, “Because I don’t want to start a business” or “I don’t have an idea”, or “It’s not for me”. All of which may be somewhat valid if taken in isolation. However, what actually is the point of an entrepreneurship course if you are not interested in entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship skills are essential whether you start a business or not.
So what skills are these? If you think about shows like “The Apprentice”, all the candidates appear to be arrogant and self-centred, with an over-inflated ego and sense of self-worth. They are bold, brash, and seem to have little regard for teamwork or others. But this is an amplified, over-egged version of what an entrepreneur is. Yes, having confidence and self-belief are important, as is determination and passion. But having an entrepreneurial mindset also requires the ability to listen, to adapt, and work with others. To see the importance of sharing ideas, and fair play. This is the essence of entrepreneurship.
So back to entrepreneurship courses. How will they actually help if you don’t want to start your own business?
- Insight in entrepreneurship. I signed up for the Building a business course offered through the Entrepreneurship Centre at Said Business School last year, and was fascinated by the whole thing. Learning about what others were doing, and successes and failures along the way was an eye opener.
- Increased employability. Many employers like to see that candidates have some business or industry experience, and taking a course in entrepreneurship gives you a bit of knowledge in this area.
- “Transferrable” Skills. Skills such as critical thinking, market analysis, idea generation, problem solving. . . all very useful skills for any kind of employment.
Although a course or event around enterprise or entrepreneurship may not seem to be your thing, you never know. Have a go, be entrepreneurial! You may just decide it could actually be interesting.
EnSpire Oxford is a University of Oxford initiative to help connect people to the entrepreneurship resources they need, and to promote entrepreneurship across Oxfordshire.
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