Guest Blog: Cultivating entrepreneurial behaviour by Dave Jarman
In this blog I’m thrilled to welcome Dave Jarman to thegratefulacademic.com. A Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Bristol, Dave is an award winning educator, intrapreneur, speaker, trainer and coach.
He writes his blog on the benefits of entrepreneurial behaviour for all academics and how embracing this can help turn ideas into reality.
Entrepreneurial / än-trə-p(r)ə-ˈnər-ē-əl / adjective
relating to business or endeavour, especially one involving individual initiative and risk
Since 2008, my main role in Higher Education has been encouraging students (and academics) to be more entrepreneurial. But with definitions such as those above it’s hard to make headway beyond a particular self-selecting cohort.
Lots of students (and academics too) can be averse to words like ‘business’, ‘risk’, and ‘money’. It’s all a bit grubby and commercial. The advent of terms like ‘social entrepreneur’ or ‘mission-driven business’, such as those folk developing B Corps, has really helped disconnect the commercial-gain focus. Now you can be entrepreneurial by starting something that has a social purpose rather than just a business judged by its ability to manage risk and make money.
But entrepreneurs can still seem like an elite club for those with ‘initiative’ or ‘endeavour’, an appetite for ‘risk’, and an ability to see ‘opportunities’, which can still feel like an exclusive group for those with more talent, motivation, connections, and resource than most of us feel we possess.
But it doesn’t need to be.
I’d had this conviction that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviour could be much more accessible and inclusive than that and one community and its various members validated me in ways that I’m truly grateful for.
That community was Enterprise Educators UK, the national network of (you’ve guessed it) Enterprise Educators whose membership is a mix of largely academics (but not all from the Business School) and professionals (largely working in Careers and Research & Enterprise Support). Since joining in 2008 I’ve always been stunned by how that community is actually very focused on helping students be themselves, be transformed by their education, enable them to follow their passions, and to start-up their ideas to change the world, rather than learning how to make money.
Ultimately, being entrepreneurial is about value-creation not venture-creation, and that’s a critical shift. If you can create value for people there is every chance they’ll reward you, then you can build a successful venture, but value-creation for people comes first, it’s not building ventures for the sake of building businesses and attracting investment. Value-creation is making things people want, venture-creation is trying to make people want the things you’ve made.
Everyone benefits from a little more entrepreneurial behaviour, regardless of whether they want to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial behaviour is acting on our ideas, turning those ideas into realisable value – intellectual, social, cultural, and economic.
I’m grateful for all those people and their insights who make that term more inclusive and approachable.
Top tips for being more entrepreneurial:
About the author:
Dave is a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the multi-award-winning Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Bristol. Dave is also a freelance Innovation Consultant, a social innovation charity trustee, an expert adviser to the National Union of Students on enterprise and employability, an independent town councillor, and the former Chairman and Director of Enterprise Educators UK, of whom he is an honorary fellow. Dave is a former University Head of Enterprise & Employability and former Head of Enterprise Education at the University of Bristol. Dave’s interest and expertise lies in early-stage start-ups, creative processes, and intrapreneurship.
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