What makes up an entrepreneurial mindset?

An entrepreneurial mindset encompasses a range of competencies and characteristics that are essential for individuals who are building new ventures either outside or inside an organisation. There has been significant research into this and a multitude of papers written. With a focus on cataloging these competencies as a basis for training and education, we have reviewed much of this documentation (the key ones of which are acknowledged and referenced below) and also brought our own experience in entrepreneurial education to bear.

With this intention of using this taxonomy to understand how to develop these competencies through education, training and hands-on activity-based learning, we have developed a set of 10 principal competencies, each with a number of sub-competencies below them. 

We have further classified them into capabilities (cognitive skills) that can be developed through education and characteristics (non-cognitive skills) developed through practice and experiential learning.This allows us to figure out the best way of helping students acquire these skills.

Below are the principal competencies. Click through to the sub-competencies.

These may then be used to both design entrepreneurial programs with a clear intention as to which competencies are being developed; and to measure the effectiveness of such.

Principal Competencies of an Entrepreneur

This page is still work in progress but shortly we will be publishing our full list of entrepreneurial  competencies and sub-competencies. 

Identify opportunities

1.0 Identify opportunities

Competency type:


2.0 Creates, refine and assess new business ideas

Competency type:


3.0 Develops valuable ideas through innovation

Competency type:

Customer focus

4.0 Designs the business around the customer

Competency type:

Problem solving mindset

5.0 Seeks to find solutions to problems and challenges and not let them become obstacles

Competency type:

Being ethical and sustainable

6.0 Thinks sustainably and assess the impact and potential down-side to creating and capturing value

Competency type:

Motivation & perseverance

7.0 Personal ability and determination to set goals, stay focused, and consistently exert effort and resilience
Motivation and perseverance

Competency type:

Manage uncertainty & risk

8.0 Manage risk and deal with uncertainty

Competency type:

Learns from others

9.0 Learns from others and open to coaching
Learns from others

Competency type:


10.0 Continually building, using and contributing to their network

Competency type:

Rather than writing pages about entrepreneurial competencies, we have decided to make our friendly assistant available to you.

Why not ask MashBot about entrepreneurial competencies?

You could start with: “What is the most important entrepreneurial competency according to the experts?”

As mentioned, much research was analysed in reaching this set of competencies, but three sources must be given significant acknowledgement as important contributors to our thinking:

  1. EntreComp: the European entrepreneurship competence framework
  2. NTFE Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship
  3. Conversations with Allan Gray Orbis Foundation