Entrepreneurship in engineering
An Institution of Engineering and Technology case study

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Page 2: Why people become entrepreneurs

Iet 17 Iet Diagram 1An entrepreneur is someone who is prepared to sacrifice their own time, effort and money to turn a good idea into a marketable product. For example, Charles Rolls and Frederick Royce were motor engineers. They showed enterprise by setting up the Rolls-Royce car manufacturing company. James Dyson is an example of a modern engineer entrepreneur. He invented the ball wheelbarrow and the Dyson Dual Cyclone Vacuum cleaner. His Dual Cyclone idea involves filtering dust in a funnel of air that spins at up to one thousand miles per hour with 100% efficiency. Dyson’s enterprise has created a global brand, employing workers in many countries and selling across the world.

Iet 17 Iet Table 1Entrepreneurism is not for everyone because it requires hard work, long hours and the ability to keep going in difficult times. It is not sufficient to just have a good idea. The entrepreneur needs to conduct market research to find out if it is a product that consumers will be willing to buy at a price that yields an acceptable profit.

When Dyson built the Dual Cyclone it took thousands of hours of experimentation with over 5,000 prototypes (trial models) to iron out weaknesses. The process of testing and market research cost money. Entrepreneurs are not guaranteed a pay-off at the end of their hard work - more new enterprises fail than succeed. However, the rewards for successful enterprise are considerable.

Institution of Engineering and Technology | Entrepreneurship in engineering