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What is Entrepreneurship?

What an entrepreneur does changes depending on who you ask. Some people think entrepreneurs start businesses, assume most of the risk and, once the business is successful, sit back and enjoy it. Others see entrepreneurs as visionaries who go around and help other businesses better focus on their vision to make their businesses more successful. Then there are those who think that entrepreneurs are just business wanderers, they don't want to commit to just one business idea so they wander around planting seeds for others to sow. In actuality, an entrepreneur is all of these things. They do have vision, motivation, and drive to start and successfully run businesses, but many entrepreneurs don’t stick around to lead a business for any length of time; they would rather move on to their next idea and help another business grow. Entrepreneurs will take on financial risks for visions they believe in, but the degree in which they do so depends on the entrepreneur's financial position and how much they believe in the company they are helping.

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Entrepreneurship Education in Iowa

Some people are full of vision. Everywhere they look, they spot an opportunity for a new product or new service or see a need that is not being fulfilled. When they take steps to fill these gaps, they are called entrepreneurs.

Unlike many business owners who have a particular passion and decide to start a business around that passion, entrepreneurs are often not singularly focused. They don't have a passion for a particular thing; they have a passion for providing needed products and services to people. Their true skill set lies in identifying the need and being able to create a way to fill it. Entrepreneurs are more than willing to help launch a business that will meet the need, but once the business is launched and it's up and running successfully, entrepreneurs are usually ready to move onto the next idea. And that's the key to an entrepreneur; there is always a new idea, a new vision, or a new need that needs filled. Entrepreneurs enjoy the process of building a business but may not have any interest in sticking around for the normal daily operations. They would much rather hand those duties off to another owner or manager and move on to the next adventure. Some might say that entrepreneurs don't make good employees and, in many cases entrepreneurs, before they embrace their true life calling, tend to jump from job to job. However, once an entrepreneur makes a name for themselves, the level of success they can have would rival that of a CEO of a corporation. If this sounds like you and you are interested in finding out how to go about becoming an entrepreneur, the information below will be useful. There are guidelines to education, a general pathway to success, and examples of careers that an entrepreneur could hold while they were making their name as visionaries.

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Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship (AS)

An associate degree in entrepreneurship is generally tailored for people who want to start their own businesses. This is a combination of a business administration degree with a heavy influence of management and accounting courses. As with other associate degrees, it takes two years to complete and will give a person the general groundwork of what is needed to run a business. The degree remains relatively generic because entrepreneurs can be found in every industry, so focusing on one particular industry would interfere with assisting other aspiring entrepreneurs. Students will learn how to write business and marketing plans, a skill that will come in handy if a business owner intends to seek out private investors. However, a student may be well-served by earning a minor or secondary major in an industry they are particularly attracted to. That way, they understand the unique parts of the industry, which can lead them to find unique solutions.

Some of the courses included in the two-year program could include:

  • Accounting
  • Strategic Business Planning
  • Business Law
  • E-Commerce
  • Entrepreneurial Marketing

Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship (BS)

A bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship will provide a better foundation than an associate degree as far as education and training goes. For non-business-owners, a bachelor’s degree will prepare a person to begin and foster a business. Students will cover courses taught at the associate degree level, as well as some advanced courses in accounting such as managerial and cost accounting, business ethics, statistics, and analysis classes (quantitative business analysis in corporate finance, for example). For current business owners, the degree will add credibility to their experience that will complement their expertise in their chosen field. The degree takes four to six years to complete, depending on the personal responsibilities of the student.

Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship (MS or MC)

Entrepreneurship is usually a specialization for a Master of Business Administration, or MBA. Master’s degrees in entrepreneurship specifically do exist but the programs resemble MBA programs because much of the same curriculum is taught. However, a master’s in entrepreneurship does include some specialized classes such as idea generation, learning the skills needed to meet investors, classes on building a portfolio, how to make presentations and create marketing kits, and more. For someone who is focused on running their own business, this degree makes sense. For someone who wants a more generalized degree, a regular MBA might be the best fit. Either way, the graduate degree will add a level of credibility however you proceed with their career. Graduate degrees typically take three to five years to complete and require either a capstone project or a comprehensive examination.

PhD Degree in Entrepreneurship (PhD)

For those who want to set themselves up as subject matter experts in their field, a doctorate degree is an option, though relatively unusual for those focused on entrepreneurship. These degrees are tailored to meet the specific needs of the student, so there is no set curriculum per se. However, there will likely be a blend of general business, finance, management, and marketing courses, as well as specific entrepreneurial courses some of which were covered at a graduate degree level. Upon completion, a person could be considered a subject matter expert in their particular field, as well as an attractive prospect for colleges and universities seeking instructors. These people are also often tapped to hold lectures and seminars for others who want to start businesses and are looking for guidance, especially if the graduate has a successful track record of starting and running businesses themselves. Doctorate degrees can take up to seven years to complete, and a dissertation and its successful defense are required.

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Become an Entrepreneur in Iowa

To become an entrepreneur in Iowa or anywhere else, a person needs a vision. The vision should be an idea to fulfill a need that currently is not being met or provide a product or service which is currently unavailable. So, the easiest way to become an entrepreneur is to create an idea for a business and then start that business. Knowing the general basics of business operations helps in that regard, which is why gaining a formal education is something that should be considered. However, you do not have to have a formal education to start a business. Having an idea, knowing who your audience is, and having the driving motivation to see the vision through can be enough to go from an idea to a profitable business. Certain skills such as knowing how to write a business plan, being able to present a business idea to potential investors, and finding a target audience will have to be learned in some fashion. And, if we're being honest, an entrepreneur/business owner is taken more seriously when they have a formal education. It might not matter to customers but, when it comes to seeking investors, it could be an issue; especially at the beginning of an entrepreneur's career.

Once a person has attained the knowledge needed to start a business, has seen some success, and before the entrepreneur branches out into different business ventures, they need to learn as much as possible about their next industry. Entrepreneurs are already subject matter experts in how to start and run a business but, if they're moving into another specialized industry, then they need to learn as much about that industry as possible to know how to operate a business in that area. Fortunately, this is a trait of most entrepreneurs; they're quick studies and enjoy learning about new industries and processes. Most entrepreneurs are more interested in helping others hone their vision to launch their businesses successfully than they are learning about the industry and running the business themselves. Once they have assisted in getting the business off the ground, they are usually ready to move on to the next project. And, once an entrepreneur has made a name for themselves as a visionary who can assist businesses with a successful launch, finding a new adventure becomes easier with time.

Careers for Entrepreneurship Graduates

An entrepreneur can basically make their own career path. However, when they are at the beginning of the career, working in other areas is often a good way for them to decide which direction they want to go. Below are some careers that might be attractive to entrepreneurs.

  • Business Owner
    A traditional business owner is someone who starts a business and is there for the day-to-day operation of said business. The company may have employees and, in that case, the business owner also takes on management duties. In the case of an entrepreneur business owner, entrepreneurs may own several businesses but generally hand over the daily activities of the business to an office manager or another partner. Their main motivation is helping others create successful businesses.
  • Public Relations Manager
    Entrepreneurs can make good public relations managers because they are used to speaking to people from all walks of life. They also know how to frame a message to meet certain needs. An entrepreneur can be a very good face for a company, especially a new company that is trying to get a foothold in a community or industry. Once the company is established, the entrepreneur can help train the next person to be the public relations manager for the business.

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  • Appraiser
    A skill that most entrepreneurs have is the ability to ascertain the value of an item, product, or service. Because of these skills, a career as an appraiser is an option for an entrepreneur. Depending on the industry, these people will review items and determine their value. Once a value has been placed on an item, how to use that item can be decided. These specialists can find work in many different industries including manufacturing, real estate, and the financial industry.
  • Investment and Acquisition
    Successful entrepreneurs often branch out into investment and acquisition positions. Once they are behind the successful launch of various businesses, they might decide to use some of their income and working capital to fund other small business ventures. They could become angel investors or request partial ownership of a business, or the entrepreneur could choose to be involved in the launching of the business in a formal or advisory role. Just like their other business ventures, entrepreneurs who go into investing often get in and out within one to three years. During acquisitions, entrepreneurs have a special way of knowing how two businesses could complement each other and create a financial success for both. The entrepreneur uses their leverage and capital to make the acquisition happen.

Additional careers an entrepreneur may want to consider before they launch out on their own are:

  • Business Owner
  • Brand Manager
  • Business Consultant
  • Marketing/Research Analyst
  • Product/Product Development Manager
  • Web Developer
  • Social Media Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Systems Analyst
  • Management Analyst
  • Advertising


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