Why Engineers Make Great Entrepreneurs

Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Henry Ford

Entrepreneurs Engineers

Have you heard of them?

I bet you have! Some of the most successful and most famous Entrepreneurs out there, have come from Engineering backgrounds.

In fact in a 2012 ‘Identified’ survey carried out into entrepreneurship, it was found that there were 3 times as many CEO’s with advanced degrees in Engineering than there were CEO’s that had an MBA.

But what are the traits that make Engineers such a good Entrepreneurs?

1. Great Problem Solving Skills

Engineers, by nature, are fantastic problem solvers. Their whole career revolves around building things in order to solve problems. When it comes to creating and developing a viable product/service in the entrepreneurial world, whatever you are developing has to solve a problem in order to satisfy the market. Engineers have the training and the ability to understand a wide range of possible solutions to a problem and to proceed with the most relevant for the overall goal at hand.

2. Mathematically Minded 

Engineers are extremely mathematically minded having an extensive knowledge of physics and have a way with numbers. Armed with a skill such as this one, entering the entrepreneurial world becomes instantly less daunting and allows for a greater insight into the probable viability of an innovation. Engineers possess an ability to focus on data and understand how numbers work in real life situations. This means calculating profit/loss accounts and understanding balance sheets comes second nature to them.

3. Understand the Importance of a Team

While working on projects, engineers nearly always work as part of a team. Engineers understand that different perspectives and skill sets are crucial to the progression and success of a project. Another aspect of teamwork that engineers understand is that other members are need to delegate work to. No man is an Island and with financial and time constraints, working as part of a team gets the work done. These insights and understanding are crucial when creating an Enterprise. Two heads are better than one.

4. Excellent at Planning 

On any project that an Engineer works on, they know that planning is the most crucial element. Plans, designs and research needs to be drawn up before any physical work can begin. Entrepreneurs on the other hand have a tendency to rush into the development of a product before important foundation research has been completed: market research, financial projections, the development of a business plan. Without planning, entrepreneurial ventures can and do fall flat. Engineers however possess the knowledge that planning is key.

5. Technical Understanding 

There is no doubt that the growing business world is become ever more technical in nature. Engineers have the upper hand when it comes to innovation as they truly understand how the technicality works. Engineers understand the ins and outs of product development and therefore make great business leaders.

5. Trustworthy

Where some business people are known for being shady or deceitful when it comes to gaining the upper hand. Engineers, by-and-large, are known for their practicality, logic and truth telling (often in a very blunt manner). Due to the practicality of the profession, Engineers know that one cannot pretend or deceive consumers or customers if there is an actual issue. This would only cause the entire project to come tumbling down. This forward facing truth means that Engineers are perceived as trustworthy in the business world, adding to their business success.

6. Optimistic 

The job of an Engineer depends on their ability to be optimistic with their work. I am not talking about blind optimism, entering into a project and hoping for the best. I am talking about persisting with whatever course of action is deemed appropriate, overcoming obstacles and working until a problem is solved. Faced with the likes of financial crises, cultural barriers or societal issues, Engineers are trained to find away to create a positive outcome and they know in their minds that they are capable of this. Entering into a business venture with an optimistic outlook and the skills and traits that I have mentioned above is a sure set up for a successful entrepreneur.

7. Constant Self Evaluation 

Engineers are constantly examining their projects or prototypes in order to find better solutions and make changes quickly and efficiently. There needs to be constant self evaluation in order to persevere when the challenges that lay ahead seem great. Engineers have been taught and trained to constantly evaluate their progress and so make great entrepreneurs.

From the socially awkward, highly technical designers to team leaders, innovators and investigators, what has been deemed ‘The New Engineer’ is equipped with talents skills and a drive that will give entrepreneurs from all other areas a run for their money.


Joe Sturtevant
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