A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Innovation and Entrepreneurship:
It isn’t just about owning your own business

By Eric Patrick Marr
KyForward columnist

Entrepreneurship means saying “Yes,” instead of “No.”

The narrow definition we’ve almost always held for entrepreneurship is “owning your own business.” But that comes across as elitist, as if those who work for themselves are higher (better? smarter?) than everybody else.

Entrepreneurship is not “a position within a small business,” however. Entrepreneurship is a method for tackling life and all of its aspects. Athletes and soldiers (single parents, too) prove this. They are not business owners – but act extremely entrepreneurially as they constantly solve problems, take risks, compete or partner with friends and foes, and succeed and fail, all while dealing with the pressures of onlookers. Entrepreneurship is a mindset of getting things done – making things happen – and therefore, entrepreneurship is an outlook we need a lot more of so we can live our best lives.

Entrepreneurship is what America was founded and built on during our Colonial days. But because we grew comfortable and automated, much of our United States has become less entrepreneurial over the last few generations.

Entrepreneurs look for opportunities they can seize. They tackle problems head on, actually seeking – not shying away from – responsibility. (Entrepreneurs never “pass the buck on to the next guy” because, truthfully, there is no other guy to pass it on to.) Entrepreneurs face fear every moment – but overcome it because they have confidence in their decision making and in their abilities.

Entrepreneurs feel compelled to fully experience each moment of each day – they hate mindlessly existing out of obligation, allowing death to gradually gnaw at their souls. Entrepreneurs reject the idea that mindlessly “clocking in and out of life” is the highest quality of life there is.

To bring it home, entrepreneurship is simply about not accepting the status quo. Entrepreneurs fundamentally know that the future is createable, makeable, shapeable and moldable; the future is never, ever predetermined. Entrepreneurs know that the effort they inject into the world today will have ramifications tomorrow – so they purposefully set about building the world they want to live in, never accepting a lesser version handed to them by others.

And Kentucky, considering our past (built by entrepreneurs, pioneers, explorers and innovators) and our present (most of us know our state ranks near the bottom, economically), needs your entrepreneurial spirit to build our future.

Eric Patrick Marr founded the non-profit LeXenomics Group in Lexington, dedicated to building a better quality of life in the Bluegrass and to help build our 21st century economy from the inside out. Reach Eric at ericpatrickmarr@lexenomics.org.

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