MY ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUMMER SCHOOL EXPERIENCE By Monga Yan Throughout the duration of my life I have been sceptical towards entrepreneurship, I have always considered an entrepreneur to be a person who left school because they were not capable of completing it, or were simply unable to get a job. I believed this person to be someone who started their own business purely to give them something constructive to do. I never considered myself to be entrepreneurial in any way, I have always thought that I were more suited to studying and aiming to achieve the highest grades that I am capable of attaining. Following the Entrepreneurship Summer School which I attended at the University of Hong Kong during the previous summer it has been made clear to me that I was very wrong regarding my entrepreneurial skills. I have come to believe that a person is not born an entrepreneur and that all people have entrepreneurial skills, it is simply a case of discovering such skills within yourself. Entrepreneurship can be understood in many different ways, one of way of understanding it, as odd as it may seem, is to liken entrepreneurship to basic human nature. An example of this could be a hungry baby, it is not capable of explicitly asking for what it wants, but the baby still strives for what it wants. The baby acts as efficiently as possible in order to satisfy its basic human needs, and is it not the nature of entrepreneurship for one to operate as efficiently as possible in order to supplement his personal wants and needs. People who are successful entrepreneurs are essentially doing the same thing, they are taking all of the resources and knowledge that they have, and they put them together in the most efficient and rigorous way possible in order to reach their personal goals. Perhaps the reason that some people succeed and others do not is because some minds are more capable of operating efficiently and independently than others, those who do not have all the necessary tools simply ignore their entrepreneurial instincts and go on in life like most other people. If there is one thing that I have really learnt from the summer school that I have attended it is the fact that entrepreneurship is something that we can indeed apply to every day life. To be entrepreneurial is to make small advances in day to day life and slowly accumulate more and more for yourself as the days and years go by, for example it has occurred to me that the reason why I pass my exams with such high grades is because I am entrepreneurial with all of the resources around me. I have got lecture notes, tutors, lecturers and reading materials and by using these as efficiently as possible (ie asking tutors for help and guidance whenever I do not understand something) I ensure absolutely that I achieve to the highest of my ability. You do not have to be a successful entrepreneur to claim that you have entrepreneurial
qualities, it appears to be the case that such qualities revolve around the concept of the self. One has self-motivation, self-interest, self-courage and self-initiative and I am absolutely sure that you are the master of your own devices regarding every judgement that you make. You may have failed in certain things that you have tried and you are the only person to blame for this, but if one acts responsibly and respectfully then you create a good personal image and this will help people to trust you in the future. Entrepreneurship is something common as I have previously mentioned, everyone has it in their nature, but it is actually powerful in the way that it can give your life a sense of meaning and a comprehensive sense of achievement. A lot of people in my country, myself previously included, seemed to spontaneously link entrepreneurs with money and wealth. This is not an irrational link to make, and it is all good and well being rich but whoever said money genuinely guaranteed happiness? What the school really impressed upon me is that it is not a factory trying to produce entrepreneurs as one may think, it simply tries to guide you to the entrepreneur within your self. As a pure Chinese national I have always thought it better to be conservative in my ways, I always thought it smarter to sit back and follow others rather than interrupt in fear of getting it wrong and sounding unintelligent. One major thing the summer school taught me is that to make mistakes is not a bad thing, and does not make you unintelligent. If anything to be wrong makes you more intelligent, after all how is one ever to learn and become intelligent without making mistakes along the way? I am totally convinced that every prominent entrepreneur in history has had his fair share of failings and tragic business mistakes, yet has it hindered their success? Not at all! Perhaps they would not have made it as far as they did without the mistakes, as one can only ever learn from his failings, and knows what to look out for next time round in order to avoid the same failings. All in all there are only really two ways to learn how to go forward, firstly there is to try, to fail, to learn and to advance and secondly there is to ask, to learn, to avoid failure and to advance. If you do not go and ask questions then you will only loose out on knowledge and wisdoms, as said by Ms. Chan of the summer school â€œif you make mistakes or have any problems and bury them they will remain your own problems, whereas if you come to me your problems become our problemsâ€?. It is good to share your issues with others, as they say two minds are always better than one! Perhaps I have dressed entrepreneurship up to be something that it is not, I have made it sound easy and glorious yet really it is not, to find your inner entrepreneur is a long and difficult road to take full of turmoil and uncertainty. The greatest entrepreneurs are not Asian, they are Western, and there is a very good reason for this â€Ś Asian people fear two things, risk, and failure. But what Asian people must come to understand is that fear and risk are nothing that one should avoid, as they do not have to be extreme levels of risk, we were taught in the school that you should take small calculated risks so as to reduce the chance of failure. The small jumps are no great stories to be told, yet they are real world stories regardless of their unimpressive nature when set against the stories of the
great entrepreneurs, but is it not true that all people must start somewhere? In conclusion to be perfectly honest I did not expect that during the summer school I would have gained any sort of appreciation for entrepreneurship, and the only reason I decided to attend the school was because it happened to be on, and to be free of charge. I decided that it could not hurt to attend, why not, and incidentally it materialised to be the most enjoyable optional academic activity that I have ever been involved in.
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