Anyone can be an entrepreneur
04-19-2021 08:33am

Anyone can be an entrepreneur

By Hugh Cherry

 How do you define entrepreneurship? The more than 600,000 people who start new businesses each year certainly fit the traditional definition. So does the child who launches a lemonade stand 

But what about the technologist who creates a fairer criminal justice system? The journalist who heals political divides by forging conversationsEach individual identifies a problem — whether personal or societal — and attempts to solve it. Each uses their unique talents to change lives for the better. When I talk about entrepreneursthese individuals are some of the people I’m thinking about.  

That’s because “for-profit and privatesector are not the defining markers of entrepreneurs. Mindset is.  

Entrepreneurs certainly are risk takers. The technologist mentioned above — Clementine Jacoby of Recidiviz — left a potentially lucrative Silicon Valley career to help change the country’s justice system. She is a lot like Sal Khan, who left a hedge fund to create Khan Academy and  

But an entrepreneurial mindset is more than risk taking. It’s a way of seeing the world in terms of opportunity. Entrepreneurs identify problems, but also propose solutions. They see needs, and creatively work to address them in new and better ways.  

Can you learn to think entrepreneurially? Yes. CKI’s educational programs would not exist if we did not think so.  

I’ve seen this over and over again as participants in our programs develop an entrepreneurial mindset and take action. Oftentimes this coincides with discovery of each participant’s unique talents. When you discover your gifts and grow your skills, you’re far better positioned to solve problems in a productive way.   

For example: alumna Tanya Gonzalez came to the Koch Associate Program through the recommendation of a friend familiar with CKI. “I was eager to learn Market-Based Management because as a new leader I needed a management style that was proven to work.” The chief of staff for a Boston think tank, Gonzalez wanted space to think about what comes next.  

What she received was more than space. She entered a community focused on helping her identify her talents and apply them for the sake of others.  “Through learning how to become self-actualized, what my comparative advantages are, how to identify risks and assumptions, and what a great vision looks like, I am now better able to create a program that will be sustainable.” She’s now applying this knowledge to her passion project — creating a home for youth aging out of the foster-care system.  

Successful business owners do the same. Kalene Smith, a participant in Youth Entrepreneurs, was an accountant after college, but it wasn’t until she thought about her own health that she found her passion. She started GoTimeTraining, a personal training and nutrition business in Wichita, Kansas, that works with doctors and other professionals to give clients a fully healthy life.”  

The mindset behind Tanya Gonzalez and Kalene Smith is the same. At its core, both have spent time identifying their passions and aptitudes. All three have identified a barrier others are facing that they’re passionate about removing. And all three are proposing a solution to meet that need.  

Embracing this way of operating in the world leads to deep, meaningful success. It’s how our society moves forward. And it’s a whole lot of fun.  

If you join our community at CKI, we’ll do everything in our power to help you catch this vision. You have unique potential. And if that potential is discovered, developed, and applied, our world will be a far better place.  

Applications for KIP and KAP are open! Don’t miss out. Apply for KAP.  Apply for KIP.

CKI’s educational programs equip innovators to discover their personal passions and make an immediate impact — to create new ventures, improve existing institutions, and contribute right away. Whether you are just beginning your venture or further along, we want to hear from you.  




05-06-2021 09:00am

NEW POLL: Vast majority of veterans and general public want troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq; less American military engagement in the world

New polling shows two-thirds of Americans support President Biden’s decision to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, would support a similar decision to withdraw troops from Iraq, and generally want less American military involvement in the world.

Read more

04-22-2021 11:49am

The Manufacturing Institute helps employers grow second chance opportunities

MI provides resources and expertise for employers on second chance hiring as a key solution to address the skills gap in manufacturing.

Read more

04-13-2021 06:24pm

The Charles Koch Institute’s Will Ruger on reports of September Afghanistan troop withdrawal

A speedy and full withdrawal from the country is what the American people want and what best serves American interests. While holding to the deadline in the Doha agreement would be ideal, we are pleased to see progress being made to end America’s longest ever war.

Read more