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This chapter is from the book

1.1 The Entrepreneur

These myths and stories usually come in two forms. One story type is a tale of somebody who had an idea that very few understood or believed in, but who with determination and perhaps sheer luck was in the right spot at the right time and voilà! What a wonderful success story, with some drama thrown in for good measure! Quite often, it is a story on a successful entrepreneur who has traveled from rags to riches through hard work and an ability to make the right decisions at the right time. But the college dropout has not always been the entrepreneurial myth. We will explore some other models of the would-be entrepreneur. For example, Hollywood has found great movie scripts in the entrepreneurial tales of the lives of Henry Ford and Thomas Alva Edison. Yet Hollywood has yet to tell the stories of some famous female entrepreneurs like Madam C. J. Walker who turned her homemade recipes for hair and scalp care products into a business empire that made her the United States’ first self-made black female millionaire in the early 1900s.

The alternative story type is the story of a local or national entrepreneur celebrating an anniversary for being in business half a century and now handing over the firm to the next generation. You most likely will read these two types of stories because they are spectacular and entertaining. We may also be personally familiar with their products or services. You may even know these entrepreneurs personally. These stories are intriguing because they often capture some of “how dreams come true.” Have any of these entrepreneurs served as personal role models? Ask yourself whether reading any of these stories or seeing these movies made you dream that you could be an entrepreneur? You do not have to be a dropout of a top college to have these dreams. Nor do you have to be under 60, or be independently wealthy to be an entrepreneur as we demonstrate in this book.

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