As start-up rates continue to rise, this is a question I'm being increasingly asked - especially during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). My response is 'Yes, there is an entrepreneur in everyone but it is expressed in different ways by different people.'
Realising the entrepreneur within could be the act of turning your passion or hobby into a business, spotting a gap in the market and fund-raising to fill it, or coming up with a new way of working or product line for a company in which you're an employee. The entrepreneurial instinct, I believe, is in everyone - the only thing that differs is what you decide to do with it.
People are starting businesses in their droves, and it is a pleasure to see men and women of all ages and backgrounds develop the skills required to make a product, build a website, make sales and manage their finances - with a little help from friends and professionals. The more people that do become their own boss, the more others will follow in their footsteps. It is absolutely true that if you know people who are self-employed, you are likely to choose that route yourself.
In GEW I wonder if we should turn our attention a little more to the entrepreneurs within organisations; the free thinkers, innovators, marketers and business developers who are working to make their organization function better and increase sales. These are the intrapreneurs and there's a job to be done to unleash their talent. Companies that do this well include Intuit who follow the Lean StartUp model to develop new products and practices, and Telefonica who relish the entrepreneurial mentality so much that they've created a global network of accelerators to house and nurture the start-ups of the future.
Big companies should act like small ones and this can be achieved by giving employees the freedom, space and time to innovate. My 'Working 5 to 9' book from 2010 documented the stories of 5 to 9ers who were working a day job and building a business on the side. Employers said how much they benefited from the entrepreneurial skills these employees were picking up outside the workplace, developed on the back of growing their own business. One 5 to 9er I spoke to in the past few days has been promoted at work as he's learning so much and developing confidence on account of his side-line business. It would be good to see more encouragement for developing the entrepreneurial spirit in staff within working hours and within the workplace.
One basic step towards this is to have employees physically in the same space as business owners to enable entrepreneurial energy to rub off from one to another. With this in mind Enterprise Nation is opening its own pop-up next week November in central London. It is a space in which we will create the conditions to help people start businesses - despite already having a job. We'll be there for a month. Ask me next year if we did the right thing.
Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation