A truly inspirational entrepreneur

A truly inspirational talk by Lord David Puttnam this evening at the Royal Society of Arts. He was giving the inaugural NACUE Entrepreneur Leaders Lecture (National Association of College & University Entrepreneurs).

Concentrating mainly on his early career with Collett Dickenson Pearce, but also featuring his award-winning career as an independent film producer (The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express to name just a few), he gave us many insights into the characteristics of entrepreneurial success. He started off by saying that “entrepreneurship can’t be taught” (perhaps unfortunate bearing in mind the audience!) and concluded with four key ingredients of what it takes to be an entrepreneur:

Talent and Imagination, Commitment and Belief – all must be present for success.

Like many other successful entrepreneurs, by his own admission he was “not good at school” but clearly his start at Collett Dickenson Pearce with colleagues such as Sir Alan Parker, Charles Saatchi and Sir John Hegarty stood him in good stead – they were all encouraged to be “fearless”, another trait of the entrepreneur.

His talk included excellent quotes and inspiring mottos from others such as:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself ” – George Bernard Shaw

“Change takes far longer than you expect, but when it does occur it happens faster than you ever believed possible” – Larry Summers (former US Treasury Secretary).

Whilst maybe the ingredients of entrepreneurship cannot be taught, we can certainly learn a lot from such inspirational entrepreneurs as Lord Puttnam.

(Thanks to Graham Spooner of Mentor UK and Vice Chairman at NACUE for organising this event. Graham is a guest speaker on my BSc course in Private Equity & Venture Capital at Henley Business School).

Any comments? Please add them here.


He’s a great speaker, WCM had him at House of Lords once?

You are right Keith that his message might seem odd to the many schools of entrepreneurship but while there are some traits common to many successful entrepreneurs, not least the lack of higher education; there is the motivation and courage to venture out and also the skills needed. Some of these skills will be instinctive but also many that can be taught. For me it’s largely about personal financial risk as well as innovation.

I’m going to a lecture soon entitled ‘what is the DNA of an entrepreneur’ so we may have an answer!

Dan E Doherty