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Member News: C.C. Eship / NACCE Journal Summer/Fall 2008

Best Practice: The DNA of an Entrepreneur

Thursday, January 14, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Montoya
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You are an entrepreneur! If you live in the United States you are an entrepreneur! From the beginnings of this country the entrepreneurial spirit has existed–and is a part of our genetic makeup.

At the turn of the 20th century, Dayton, OH, was number one in the world in patents. The likes of the Wright Brothers, Charles Kettering, John Patterson, and others walked the streets of Dayton–all at the very same time.

As an inventor, innovator, entrepreneur/intrepreneur, an executive in Fortune 500 companies, educator, and being involved with NASA, Bell Labs and NSF, I am a student of creativity and innovation. I have been studying success models of individuals and organizations including successful entrepreneurs for over four decades. The following provides some of my findings and conclusions that are incorporated into Sinclair’s "Entrepreneurship Sinclair” program.

The "Entrepreneurial Gene” does exist in both individuals and organizations. I have concluded that there are 25 composite entrepreneurial traits. Each of us (not a celebrated gifted few as one might expect) has some, if not a little, of all of these 25 traits. I have not found anyone who has–to the fullest extent possible–all 25 of these traits.

These 25 successful entrepreneurial traits are contained in the "Successful Entrepreneur Traits Assessment Profile.” The assessment is provided in Sinclair Community College’s first core Entrepreneurship program course entitled: ENT 105–Introduction to Entrepreneurship.” The course’s structure and approach–uniquely designed and facilitated, is based upon an integrative individual and class activity-based discovery approach. Each student begins the course with a Discovery Activity using the "Successful Entrepreneur Traits Assessment Profile.” The assessment results in each person understanding his/her unique Entrepreneurial DNA. From this assessment each person understands his/her key success traits. A fascinating and almost magical outcome results from this Discovery Activity; "students” move to "entrepreneurs.” The "entrepreneurs” recognize their potential.

Before I share the "Successful Entrepreneurial Traits,” let’s define the word "trait.” A trait is a quality or characteristic of an entrepreneur. I consider entrepreneurial traits to be skills, competencies, abilities, and attitudes that I have found to be key to successful entrepreneurs-but possessed to some extent by everyone.

In alphabetical order, here are the 25 traits of successful entrepreneurs:

1. Achievement Orientated

2. Ambitious

3. Business Acumen

4. Communicator (clear thinker and communicator)

5. Competitive

6. Creative

7. Critical Thinker

8. Customer Oriented

9. Decisive

10. Enthusiastic

11. Flexible

12. Focused (able to)

13. Goal Oriented

14. Implementer

15. Independent

16. Innovative

17. Learner (Continuous learning and experimenter)

18. Opportunistic

19. Passionate

20. Persistent

21. Problem Solver

22. Risk Taker (calculated)

23. Self-Confident

24. Self-Disciplined

25. Strategic Thinker

In closing, I believe each of us possesses "the DNA of an entrepreneur.” A future article will describe how you can "awaken the entrepreneur within.” Please feel free to contact me for questions or comments at

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