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Discover: 4 paths to becoming an Entrepreneur

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As an entrepreneur and the founder of Bright Network, I am fortunate to get to know lots of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial businesses. The sector is flourishing - there are now so many different and innovative ways to gain entrepreneurial experience.

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If you're thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, which is all about managing risk, we've summed up four potential routes you could follow, in reverse order of risk. 

1. Get the skills first, then launch

Many successful entrepreneurs have cut their teeth by working for someone else before going on to launch their own successful ventures. Examples include Ed Wray, Cofounder of Betfair; Richard Reed, Jon Wright and Adam Balon, Founders of Innocent Drinks; Nick Robertson, Founder of ASOS; and Peirre Omidyar, Founder & Chairman of eBay.

This approach is less risky as you acquire experience on other people's time. You may also develop a network of people who want to invest in your idea. The downside is that you may miss a great opportunity while you slave away working for someone else. 

2. New Entrepreneurs Foundation (NEF)

Founded in 2011, NEF is a highly prestigious programme that offers a one year programme to educate the entrepreneurial leaders of the future. Backed by the likes of Virgin and Rothschild, it's become the leader in its field, helping any young entrepreneur wanting to get ahead.  

As well as getting a living London wage and a great job in a high growth business, you also get a coach and the opportunity to attend workshops on managing your finances and negotiation. NEF also gives you access to exclusive talks from entrepreneurs including Brent Hoberman, Charles Dunstone and Luke Johnson - sharing their experience of starting and running a business.

NEF is a superb way to learn a lot about entrepreneurial endeavours and develop a great network for when you launch your billion dollar business.

The New Entrepreneurs Foundation team chat with Bright Network members about their programme at Bright Network Festival

3. Incubators

A flurry of incubators have cropped up in the last few years. These organisations take you under their wing and help you develop your business idea from concept to launch. They often have strong networks for mentoring and funding - leading incubators include Entrepreneur First and Wayra.

If you want to launch your idea ASAP, then incubators can be a good way to do this. But be aware - you often won't get a salary. 

4. Start your own business

So you have that world-beating business idea and you want to get it launched before anyone else. Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are all examples of billionaire entrepreneurs who launched their business straight away, either dropping out of university, or simply not attending in Jobs' case.

While this can work, it's clearly the riskiest option. The upside is that you are pursuing your dream and learning about the market; the downside is if it doesn't work you've lost a lot of your (or your investors) money. Therefore you may want to pursue this idea only if you think it'll be immediately cash generative to get you to profitability, or you have a ground-breaking concept that investors are queuing up to invest in. 

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