One of the questions Smarta often asks during its interviews with business owners is whether they think entrepreneurialism is nature or nurture – are entrepreneurs born or made?
Opinion over the matter has, until now, been steadfastly divided – while many believe there’s a genetic link, others, such as Coffee Republic founders Sahar and Bobby Hashemi whose book, ‘Anyone can do it’, claims to ‘blow apart the myth that only “special” people can start a business’, have made money teaching those who aren’t as entrepreneurially inclined how to run a successful business.
All that may be blown out of the water, though, after the results of a study into the business behaviour of more than 1,700 sets of twins has showed there is a link between genetics and whether you will run a business.
The investigation, by scientists Nicos Nicolaou and Scott Shane, looked into education, self-employment status, income and entrepreneurial attitudes, as well as the effect on chemical mechanisms in the brain which that increase the likelihood of self-employment and how genes which make some people more sensitive to environmental stimuli develop.
The pair claim to have created ‘the first empirical test’ to prove entrepreneurs are born, not made, but Smarta isn’t sure it’s so simple: the study is vague about defining an ‘entrepreneur’ and for most, good leadership skills or the ability to make books balance is far from a genetic predisposition.
Perhaps what is genetic about entrepreneurs, then, is less some mystical power and more the ability and drive to force yourself into learning new skills and honing those you already have.