Why Can’t Scientists be Entrepreneurs?

It’s not the first thing people associate together — Scientists and Entrepreneurs. Why? Because of the many (stigmatic) differences between the two.

1. Scientists are practical; Entrepreneus dream big.

2. Scientists are analytical; Entrepreneurs are creative.

3. Scientists are conservative; Entrepreneurs are risk-takers.

As I went through business school, majoring in entepreneurship, I constantly struggled with these thoughts, of whether I, with a science PhD, would fit in with the business crowd? How would I have to adjust to be an outstanding entrepreneur? Am I an oddball?

Through the process, I realized (to my joy) that there are actually many qualities of a good scientist that makes a good entrepreneur:

1. Passionate and motivated. It takes a whole lot of passion and motivation to do research, when you’re the only one who knows (or believes) it will work, when many other researchers are trying to prove the opposite, and when all other life’s entertainment has to take the back seat. Entrepreneurs have to dedicate their life to their business too, because otherwise no one else will.

2. Never give up. A PhD is not an easy route, and it takes a lot of grit to get to the end. The same goes for business, when many times you only have yourself and your business to believe in. It all boils down to faith.

3. Used to the notion of “first winner takes all; second gets nothing”. In science, it is a race to publish. If your competitor beats you to publishing the same discovery/invention, the novelty in your work is completely lost, and there is no more value in everything you’ve dedicated your life to the past few years. The same goes for many start-ups, where the first start-up to deliver the product to market (provided it is of good quality) captures a huge market share, gains critical traction, and no competitor can fight them. (Think facebook…)

So, if you are also a scientist, and have secretly desired to start your own business but never dared to voice out the “ridiculous” dream, stop keeping it a secret now! Be brave, go ahead, and shout to the world. You’ve got what it takes! 😀

Published by wendysoon

Mother of 3 lovely boys Doctorate in biology and genomics Serial Entrepreneur

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