Recently I was preparing a report and I put in it that the local university had 12,000 potential entrepreneurs. When the document was reviewed I was told that it was an arrogant and slightly over the top statement.
Quite frankly, given that the report was supposedly on an entrepreneurship project, I was astounded at the comment. But then I began to realise that people look at entrepreneurship a bit like the British look at their class structure.
The British recognise that there are various classes and they realise that they all have a right to exist, but they don't see why either sid should mix with or aspire to be the other.
And so it is with higher education. People see entrepreneurs as a sort of dropout existence at best and a last hope saloon at worst. So it is natural that when one talks about the intellectual cream that one expects better than that from them.
And yet, had a referred to 12,000 potential civil servants, or 12,000 potential financiers and lawyers then no one would have minded. Had I expected all of them to become entrepreneurs then I would have understood, but I definitely used the word ‘potential’.
Bear in mind we are talking about the top of the intelligence tree and we surely need those sorts of brains to make the products and services of tomorrow. But we shy away from encouraging entrepreneurship as an option because it seems to the conventional as if it is a failure.
Until we stop educating our young people away from creativity and into safe jobs regardless of their personal desires, we will never make the breakthroughs necessary to create tomorrow’s products and srvices.
So perhaps I should change the report to read not 12,000 potential entrepreneurs, but 12,000 definite clones!