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Success is a good lesson away

Neil Munro reports from Brussels where Scottish politicians and professionals spent last week raising the national profile

ENTREPRENEURS are made, not born. That is the message Scottish Enterprise expects schools and others to take from its latest research.

The agency's regular survey, in which it tracked down 5,000 entrepreneurs, appears to overturn the conventional wisdom that assumes such people are born with an innate talent which cannot be "taught".

Brian McVey, head of new ventures at Scottish Enterprise, said that almost all entrepreneurs are surprised at their own success. Positive attitudes and strong self-esteem are among characteristics that drive them, another message for schools.

Good entrepreneurs are also good learners, Dr McVey said. "That is why education is so important. Entrepreneurs learn from their mistakes, from their experiences and from others."

The agency's research also challenged another piece of conventional wisdom - that entrepreneurs are mostly self-taught. Many are in fact well-qualified.

Scottish Enterprise found that 800,000 people, one in five of the adult population, are interested in starting their own businesses. But only 70,000 get past the "dream" to the planning stage.

The agency's "business incubation" strategy and its "Primary 1 to plc" programme are designed to meet what it regards as "unfulfilled potential".

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