Not so long ago, entrepreneurs were mostly men. However, last year the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reported that more women in the UK were starting a high street business than ever before - in fact in 2013 nearly half (49.5%) of hotel, retail, catering and leisure start-ups launched over the previous two years were owned principally by women.
That's a massive increase compared with a similar survey 20 years earlier, when not even a quarter of high street start-ups were female owned. Now it's female entrepreneurs who are driving economic growth in many town centres.
And the motivation for going into business isn't always a quest for money alone. That's evidenced by the rise of 'social entrepreneurs' and the increasing numbers of those who are establishing values-driven companies where profit and doing good go hand in hand.
Whatever the individual motivation, there are some characteristics that are common to most entrepreneurs. Let's start with six.
1. The ability to spot an opportunity
Entrepreneurs see potential, both large and small, before others even conceive the possibility. So, if you've ever thought of a good business idea, seen a gap in the market or noticed a better way to do something, then you already have the right mindset.
2. The willingness to take action
They are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to make something happen. It doesn't matter how many ideas you have or opportunities you spot, it's taking action that matters. That's why entrepreneurs have a sense of urgency - they have found an idea that motivates them and which they are passionate about.
3. Resilience and determination
Entrepreneurs aren't put off by the 'sceptical experts' who tell them they can't do this or that. Pushing ahead with something you believe in ... despite what others say ... is probably something you do already in your everyday life. As the saying goes, "where there's a will there's a way."
4. The desire for freedom and ownership
They want choice and greater control of their lives. These are things that are largely unachievable when you work for someone else, and they're taking the major decisions affecting your life. Not surprisingly, with more and more professionals having to rethink their long-term future, the thought of being 'in charge' is beginning to carry more weight than the perceived security of a monthly salary.
5. Natural adaptability
Entrepreneurs adapt to the changing circumstances and environment, doing everything they can to take their business idea forward and make it happen. They also ask for advice and support when they need it and learn better ways of doing things from other industries.
6. The need to create and make things better
It's their restless desire to make things happen, the need to scratch that itch, to do something that has not done before, or do it better, to make something new out of nothing, their thirst for a personal challenge, that turns their world into an adventure playground of possibilities.
In our fast-changing world, entrepreneurs are the ones who drive the economy. While others may trade pieces of paper, facilitate and manage behind the scenes, it's entrepreneurs who are the economic heroes.
Can you be taught to be an entrepreneur? I believe so.
Could you be one? Yes. By realising that you can do something different.