“Are leaders born or made?” That’s an age-old question people often ask to identify excellent and exceptional leaders. When it comes to digital entrepreneurs, people ask the same question, “what makes a good digital entrepreneur?” Are digital entrepreneurs born or made?” Well, interestingly, the answer is, “Yes” to both.
Let’s start with, “yes, entrepreneurs are born”.
The Bible says we all have different gifts according to the grace given to us by God (Romans 12:6). So, each one of us has a talent, an ability given to us by God through grace. The Apostle Paul writing to Philemon urged him to live an effective life of faith through the knowledge, “…of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”(Philemon 1:6).
So, from the teachings of the Bible, we conclude that we have certain qualities or characteristics inside us for a successful life.
For digital entrepreneurs, what are some of these qualities?
A cursory study of the life of technology luminaries such as Steve Jobs of Apple Inc, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Mark Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, seem to imply that age has something to do with successful digital entrepreneurship. All these three luminaries started their enterprises at a very young age.
Steve Jobs founded Apple at the age of twenty-one. At the age of seventeen, Bill Gates founded Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook at the age of nineteen. Was it a coincidence of history that these three luminaries were young? Well, this trend seems to have continued through generations, and still is today.
Young people are more adept at experimenting with new ideas. They are curious about their world, always exploring how things could work better and differently. This is the quality that makes for a successful digital entrepreneur.
For every generation, young people are the catalysts for change. They are not burdened by history and familiarity of how things have always worked – all which breed conservatism and inaction. Young people always look to the future – how things could be, not how things have always been. That’s the reason Apostle Paul admonished his young student, Timothy, to not give attention to “endless genealogies” (1 Timothy 1:4).
The majority of digital start-ups today are owned by young people. Young people are excited about the prospects of digital technologies. They always explore the endless possibilities presented by these technologies to meet the human need.
Nonetheless, all these qualities will not produce much success if they are not harnessed by education, training and application. So, the answer to the question, “are digital entrepreneurs born or made”, is also, “yes, digital entrepreneurs are made”.
Learning and applying skill produces growth. “Growth is a result of the right application of revealed principles and means” (Rev. (Dr.) Chris Oyakhilome, 2017). It does not happen by chance; it happens through deliberate effort to acquire and apply knowledge.
Digital luminaries have a continuous learning mindset. The speed of technology invention and the rapid pace of their adoption requires a growth mindset; a mindset that is open to new ideas and how things can be done better. A fixed, warped mindset will not lead to success. This means, to succeed as a digital entrepreneur, you must continually learn and apply what you have learnt. You must always explore your world – it has so much to offer!
A digital luminary also seizes the moment, the opportunity to make a difference. When you launch a start-up, it’s because you have spotted an opportunity in the market, which is an unmet human need. You launch-out and start something to meet that need.
On their own, the ideas do not breed success. It is when you take action that you see results. So, as a young person, you are standing at the gate of great opportunity to make a difference and impact your world. Invest in your personality and bless the world with it! The Bible teaches us that doing something is what breeds success, mere talk breeds failure (Proverbs 14:23).
I come from the beautiful port city of East London in South Africa. I’m an activist for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. I’m a big-picture thinker, with interest in ideas that can make our world a better place. That’s why I’m a technology enthusiast, always exploring what’s the next innovation in the digital economy. I’m currently enrolled in a Global MBA with the University of London, and also an Advanced Diploma in Financial Markets with the University of Johannesburg, South Africa