Do you have entrepreneurial competencies ?

Starting your own business can be very challenging and rewarding experience. Some of the benefits would be the freedom that you would enjoy in setting your goals, identifying an area of your interest, designing your own products or services, etc. . However, this means a lot more personal responsibility and investment of money, time and effort. Your capabilities, innate as well as acquired, can make a huge difference between success and failure in your business. Can we see the words of experience ?

Personal Entrepreneurial Competencies

Research by McClelland and McBer, funded by USAID, has identified 14 personal entrepreneurial competencies (PECs) which appear to characterize the behaviour of successful entrepreneurs. The study, conducted in India, Ecuador and Malawi, also found that these PECs transcended culture, country and continent. These competencies can be grouped into 3 main clusters and the UNCTAD EMPRETEC model has merged some of these competencies to derive 10 PECs.


1. Opportunity Seeking and Initiative

• Does things before asked or forced to by events

•Acts to extend the business into new areas, products or services

• Seizes unusual opportunities to start a new business, obtain financing, equipment, land work space or assistance

2. Risk Taking

• Deliberately calculates risks and evaluates alternatives

• Takes action to reduce risks or control outcomes

• Places self in situations involving a challenge or moderate risk

3. Demand for Efficiency and Quality

• Finds ways to do things better, faster, or cheaper

• Acts to do things that meet or exceed standards of excellence

• Develops or uses procedures to ensure work is completed on time or that

• work meets agreed upon standards of quality

4. Persistence

• Takes action in the face of a significant obstacle

• Takes repeated actions or switches to an alternative strategy to meet a challenge or overcome an obstacle

• Takes personal responsibility for the performance necessary to achieve goals and objectives

5. Commitment to the Work Contract

• Makes a personal sacrifice or expends extraordinary effort to complete a job

• Pitches in with workers or in their place to get a job done

• Strives to keep customers satisfied and places long term good will over short term gain


6. Information Seeking

• Personally seeks information from clients, suppliers or competitors

• Does personal research on how to provide a product or service

• Consults experts for business or technical advice

7. Goal setting

• Sets goals and objectives that are personally meaningful and challenging

• Articulates clear and specific long range goals

• Sets measurable short term objectives

8. Systematic Planning and Monitoring

• Plans by breaking large tasks down into time-constrained sub-tasks

• Revises plans in light of feedback on performance or changing circumstances

• Keeps financial records and uses them to make business decisions


9. Persuasion and Networking

• Uses deliberate strategies to influence or persuade others

• Uses key people as agents to accomplish own objectives

• Acts to develop and maintain business contracts

10. Independence and self-confidence

• Seeks autonomy from the rules or control of others

• Sticks with own judgement in the face of opposition or early lack of success

• Expresses confidence in own ability to complete a difficult task or meet a challenge

You can keep track of the above competencies and their improvement by self evaluation once in three months using the UNCTAD EMPRETEC Entrepreneurs Guide. This handbook can be a record of your progress. Competencies can be improved if you have the will power.

Some online tests are also available that can guide you. Take the tests honestly and set goals for improvement. You may test yourself every 3 to 6 months:

1.Psychometric Test for Entrepreneurs

2.Entrepreneurial self assessment (Business Development Canada)