Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurs have many of the same character traits as leaders, similar to the early great man theories of leadership; however trait-based theories of entrepreneurship are increasingly being called into question. Entrepreneurs are often contrasted with managers and administrators who are said to be more methodical and less prone to risk-taking. Such person-centric models of entrepreneurship have shown to be of questionable validity, not least as many real-life entrepreneurs operate in teams rather than as single individuals. Still, a vast literature studying the entrepreneurial personality found that certain traits seem to be associated with entrepreneurs:

David McClelland - primarily motivated by an overwhelming need for achievement and strong urge to build.

Collins and Moore - tough, pragmatic people driven by needs of independence and achievement. They seldom are willing to submit to authority.

Bird - mercurial, that is, prone to insights, brainstorms, deceptions, ingeniousness and resourcefulness. they are cunning, opportunistic, creative, and unsentimental.

Cooper, Woo, & Dunkelberg - argue that entrepreneurs exhibit extreme optimism in their decision-making processes.

Busenitz and Barney - prone to overconfidence and over generalizations.

Cole - found there are four types of entrepreneur: the innovator, the calculating inventor, the over-optimistic promoter, and the organization builder. These types are not related to the personality but to the type of opportunity the entrepreneur faces.

John Howkins - focused specifically on creative entrepreneurship. He found that entrepreneurs in the creative industries needed a specific set of traits including the ability to prioritise ideas over data, to be nomadic and to learn endlessly.
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