Are entrepreneurs born or made?

Let’s ask this question: Are Olympic athletes born or made?

Would Michael Phelps have won 23 Olympic gold medals if he had never had access to a pool?

While he may have been born with genetics that supported athleticism and a competitive spirit, would he have won more medals than any other athlete without awareness, opportunity, training, coaching and conditioning?

At Lehigh’s Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation, we provide just that: awareness, opportunity, training, coaching and conditioning.

Entrepreneurs, by my definition, are people who see problems as opportunities to innovate; to create solutions and make them available to those who value them.

By introducing the concepts of entrepreneurial thinking, education in the art and science of entrepreneurial skills and mindset—and the opportunity to become immersed in it with a bias toward action— nascent entrepreneurs are created.

Of course, there are people who have started lemonade stand businesses at the age of six and will be serial entrepreneurs their entire lives. They too benefit from entrepreneurship education, just as athletically inclined kids need to learn the game, train their bodies and practice, practice, practice.

I have seen countless students who have been unaware they might create something of value until they are introduced to the concepts of entrepreneurship. And when given the opportunity to practice, they are empowered to use their entrepreneurial mindset in their school, career and personal lives.

There are many ways to become a successful entrepreneur. Whether you have the genetic predisposition, you must learn—either through trial and error or educational opportunities— the discipline, skills and mindset that it takes to turn your vision into a valuable reality.