SHAPING THE FUTURE
15th February

Can you really professionalize entrepreneurship practice?

Can you really teach someone to be creative, innovative, risk taking, opportunists and all the other characteristics associated with entrepreneurship?That’s the Billion Bitcoin question isn’t it? Can you professionalise Entrepreneurship? To be honest with you, there is no doubt in my mind that you can– I am yet to come across any experience that tells me otherwise.

My name is Fezzan and I am currently ‘enabling’ the Professional Practice in Entrepreneurship movement at the Westminster Business School, London! In the simplest terms, I am putting into action, the shared vision of my leader and team for Entrepreneurship education at the University of Westminster.

That vision is to establish and embed a highly integrated platform for the practice of entrepreneurship. I bought into this vision 100% because it is dynamic, agile and socially conscious. However, I often come across, as you do, the naysayers. Opposition is great, as it really helps you to define and articulate what needs practice being put into words.

For me the arguments are barely semantics… and entrepreneurs care not for semantics but we do like a good debate!

What does it mean to professionalise?

Essentially, Collins Dictionary says to professionalise something you must make it ‘more professional’. Easy, we do that through our business challenges.

What does it mean to be professional?

ACCA have written about the attributes of professionalism. You could say, that being professional is about relating values to the way you work – everyone does this. ACCA’s values are below – see if you could relate this to entrepreneurship:

  • Competency
  • Reliability and accountability
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Self-control
  • Flexibility
  • Respect for others
  • Professional image – This is interestingly last on the ACCA’s list, yet it is probably the single most recognisable professional attribute of all. Looking and acting the part.

 

 

You could say that professionalism was influenced by organisational culture, what one organisation deems completely acceptable professional behaviour, another would be appalled.

So how do you explain that not all business cultures are the same? Take the Bank of England and then take Google… Ultimately business culture is changing, it is becoming more socially minded, more cooperative and much less hierarchical. What does an Entrepreneurs work place look like?

We would argue it’s a co-creation space. So, to us what professional means is to be able to work as a great team. Today’s Entrepreneurs have to be team players. Intrapreneurs and corporate entrepreneurs know the value of team work already, because to get the job done you need the expertise that you are unlikely to have on your own.

What does entrepreneurship mean?

According to the Business Directory, it is ‘the capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. The most obvious example of entrepreneurship is the starting of new businesses’. Do the two work together? Of course they do.

Entrepreneurship requires professionalism – especially in today’s economy when there are a hell of a lot of Pretend-Preneurs (don’t tell me you haven’t heard that one before?!). Some people are born with it. Some people fall into it. Others have been led into it. Most wouldn’t even call themselves entrepreneurs.

The issue arises when different people have different opinions on the meaning of the words, professionalism or entrepreneurship, and those opinions stem from personal experiences. This is when the debate gets heated.

To summarise:

I believe you can professionalise anything if you have three things:

1 - the passion to do so

2 - a sound theory and methodology

3 - a community of likeminded believers

 

What do you think?

We professionalise Entrepreneurship every day at PPE Westminster.

Good luck trying to convince any of us otherwise.

 

FEZZAN AHMED

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