20/02/2013 06:05 GMT | Updated 21/04/2013 06:12 BST

Young Entrepreneurs - Do You Have What It Takes?


Why is an entrepreneur like a locksmith? Because he gets paid whenever he makes a bolt for the door.

It's a popular joke about entrepreneurs but it sounds like sour grapes to me. I'm going to get rid of a few stale preconceptions for you and introduce some new ones instead.

It would be a mistake to think we are all Bill Gates (Microsoft founder) in the making, nor that because he left Harvard after a brief stint, the road to entrepreneurial billions lies in forgetting formal education per se. Also remember that for every business that succeeds, hundreds will fail.

But having said all that, when you're finishing your education and thoughts of your future career dominate, don't let 'entrepreneur' be the category that slips off the page or doesn't even make it on there before you've had time to consider it. This choice can be enormously rewarding and satisfying and is worth thinking about when you are planning your career.

So how will you know if you are suitable? I have seen so many entrepreneurs in my career that I can confidently state that there are certain characteristics common to all and if you don't have them, think of another career.

You need to be obsessive and single-minded about your idea.

You need to be resilient. If you are cowed by your first attempt to set up a business because it hasn't been the success you hoped for, and you retreat back into the world of stable employment and regular pay cheques, you haven't got the disposition for the role.

You need to be willing to take risks sometimes.

You should have a wide circle of friends and business acquaintances who can give you help and advice and introduce you to others who will benefit your business.

You need to be a really good communicator and story teller.

If you have the potential to develop the qualities mentioned above, are full of ideas and are fired up with enthusiasm, it could well be for you.

The New Entrepreneurs Foundation, set up by City leading light Oliver Pawle three years ago, is a charity running an annual entrepreneur scheme which aims to help people realize their potential and boost their core skills so that, at the end of a year on the course, they are equipped with the right abilities and knowledge to run a company to scale.

To find out more about what is involved in becoming an entrepreneur and how to apply to get on the scheme please go to:

Peter Bazelgette, now media consultant and digital investor, previously Chairman and leading creative at global TV production company Endemol, is a big supporter of young entrepreneurs. He says "Without the rainmakers, the people who start companies, the people with drive and ideas, you don't have employment, you don't have economic growth."

He's right! If you become an entrepreneur it can be scary and even lonely but when you get it right, the rewards in every sphere of life are huge and for some that potential return is a good enough reason to put on that entrepreneurial mantle and give it a go.