Entrepreneurship is a term that is often cited as a career interest, but what exactly does it mean to be an entrepreneur? According to one definition, an entrepreneur is someone who exercises initiative by organizing a venture and is the decision maker who decides what, how and how much of a good or service will be produced.1 On the other hand, the economist Joseph Schumpeter believes there are two classes of entrepreneurs: historical small business owners and innovators.2 Regardless of what you might be interested in, it is clear that being an entrepreneur encompasses a wide-ranging set of opportunities and responsibilities.  

Key Skills
Because of the variability within the field of entrepreneurship, it is helpful to think of some key skills entrepreneurs have. Of course, not all entrepreneurs will have all of these and there might even be skills that are useful that are not listed:

  • Managing the business on a day-to-day basis
  • Advertising, selling, and distributing the product or service (marketing)
  • Accounting or keeping financial records for the business
  • Hiring personnel to assist with running and growing the business
  • Producing finished goods or delivering services
  • Being non-conformist
  • Being motivated by achievement
  • Having a preference for innovation and independence
  • Possessing high tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity

1Source: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/entrepreneur.html
2Source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2014/02/our-schumpeter-columnist

Starting a Business

Starting a business will always be a pathway filled with uncertainty, risk, change and sometimes, high reward. There are many great resources to help you think about starting a business, including from individuals who have failed and succeeded with their own businesses. Key qualities that are important include being persistent, driven, resourceful and flexible.  

Important Resources

  • Entrepreneurship.org - a comprehensive resource for information and tools to help entrepreneurs to start businesses, create value and employ others.  This site offers in-depth content, guides and videos on all phases of the entrepreneurship journey.  Entrepreneur.com - a source for everything small business
  • Inc.com - advice, tools and services to help grow small businesses
  • Center for Women & Enterprise is a Boston-based non-profit that offers education and events for professional success, personal growth and financial independence

Student Clubs

  • WeStart - Wellesley’s entrepreneurship club
  • Wellesley Women in Business - Wellesley’s pre-business association to help women build a strong network, find career direction and achieve ambitious goals

Relevant Articles:


Raising Capital

Raising capital is sometimes an essential component of starting or working for a startup company. Without capital, you will not be able to invest in key areas or grow your business.  

  • The Capital Network is a Boston-based non-profit organization that offers funding education and networking for startups
  • Small Business Administration is a U.S. government agency that connects entrepreneurs with lenders and funding to help start, plan and grow businesses
  • Crowdfunding is a means of raising funding from friends, family, customers and individual investors through online platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub and internet sites

Relevant Articles


Working at a Startup

While startups typically have the reputation of being more casual with an intense and fun atmosphere, it’s important to remember that because of the variability within the industry, working at a startup can be different depending on where and what kind of startup you’re working for. Some of the best ways to learn more about what it’s like to work at a startup is by talking to your peers, interviewing alumnae and reading articles and other resources (examples listed below).

Relevant Articles



Suggested Books

  • E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
  • The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki
  • Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Other Resources

  • For more information available to the Wellesley community about pitch competitions, entrepreneurship fellowships, accelerators and other opportunities, see Entrepreneurship Resources

Additional Professional Associations

As always, please use your best judgement when using third party services.