Entrepreneurship – A combination of skills, competencies and much more


Often you would have wondered why some entrepreneurs are more successful than others. And, we all know that formal educational qualifications are not the criteria for making it big in the entrepreneurial world. So, how do people make it to the top in terms of the impact they create – whether it is through their contributions to the community or through their commercial success in the business. Delving more on this point, let’s revisit the question – who exactly is an entrepreneur, how would one identify oneself with an entrepreneur?

I would describe him or her someone who has the special ability to convert problems into opportunities. align them to their skills, be competent enough to understand the risks, make a plan, connect with the right people, strategize and ensure sustainability through quality and service, and most importantly, be a continuous learner to enhance their skills and competencies.

Today Dhirubhai Ambani or Steve Jobs are inspirational icons for entrepreneurs. However, we all know that they neither had formal qualifications nor any focused training in acquiring knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship. They went ahead with their plans and executed many projects by taking several risks. They surpassed many other through their grit, determination and their abilities to reinvent themselves to create value for society. Their growth chart is definitely not a straightforward climb but filled with peaks and troughs, indicating the highs and lows of their entrepreneurial journeys.

In fact, it can also be conceptualized as 5C’s of success – Care, Clarity, Courage, Compassion and Confidence. Mark here that nowhere do we talk of skills as an independent entity. Let’s take an example; a scientist who has the best brain, brilliant research abilities or a technician or an artist with excellent skills – will they be good entrepreneurs by qualification? Research shows that only knowledge and skills will not make good entrepreneurs, and at the same time, entrepreneurs without skills also will not be able to grow. Along with knowledge and skills, one need to develop the competence.suc

What makes a successful entrepreneur?

This involves application of knowledge and skills in a problem-solving context by applying one’s worldly experience that comes with age, as we grow up. Hence, I would consider knowledge, skills, age, experience and competence as critical to the growth and success of an entrepreneur. To simplify this proposition, let’s look at someone who has excellent communication skills and perhaps this person can teach well and wants to become an entrepreneur. Merely by continuing to teach, she may even set up a business, but, to sustain and grow she needs to develop her abilities to identify the problems and reach out to people. In other words, entrepreneurial skills are more of a behavioural nature, they must be consciously practiced with the right attitude.

In this backdrop, when I back at my journey as an entrepreneur, when I started I wasn’t completely proficient and I did not have great technical knowledge. Nor was I aware of many commercial aspects. However, I have been able to progress at a steady pace. To a large extent I would credit my success to many mentors and well-wishers to stood with me in the thick and thin of my business. And, another key differentiator in my entrepreneurial journey has been the Empretec workshop that exposed my to many hidden competencies of sustaining and scaling an enterprise.


Contribution of Empretec workshop in building entrepreneurial competencies

I could appreciate the competencies better and focus on the 30 specific behaviors as identified by UNCTAD (visit www.empretec.in) which actually drives successful entrepreneurs. It is all about “YOU” taking control of your own life, and finding ways to influence the right people or systems to connect with an environment. There are times when we move to the darker side of “power” and once we understand the impact of the “mistakes” we make, it is not very difficult to evaluate our data and information, make necessary course corrections, and get back to the continuous and ever evolving journey of an entrepreneur. It is also about believing in yourself, have self responsibility, and a strategy in place, using the network and relationships, making a plan aligned with the goals and keep chasing those goals relentlessly.

To conclude, I would reiterate that a combination of skills and competencies is that take us forward, both go hand in hand! An entrepreneur will learn skills and acquire knowledge but the right behavior and favorable attitudes will help in scaling new heights and make the journey more impactful and that is what ultimately matters, right?

Manish Kothari, Managing Director, Rhino Machines Pvt Ltd : Director, ACE Foundation Email : manish@rhinomachine.com


  1. Pingback: Linking vocational skills and competencies with sustainable value chains

  2. Thank you. Receiving the HiEERA (High Impact Entrepreneurs from Emerging Regions of Action) from Shri Suresh Prabhu is all coming from the ETW by UNCTAD. It was such a great honor to be awarded the momento in the UN House with UNIDO, UNDP & UNCTAD all there in the same room.

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