Each month we take a look at one of the 650 career pathways featured within Indigo. This month, we explore the role of an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur Edwyn van Rooyen shares his insights with this video career profile from the Indigo Careers module.

So what is an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs create and run new business ventures.

You will develop a business plan for your new idea or invention which will involve undertaking extensive market research. You will need to acquire resources including securing financial support.

Starting out, you are likely to undertake many different roles within your business. Your work is likely to involve areas such as management and business development to marketing, customer service and administrative duties.

As your venture grows, you could hire staff to take on specific roles such as accountancy staff. This will allow you to focus on the areas of work you enjoy the most.


Most entrepreneurs work long hours to ensure the long-term success of their venture. You could work normal office hours, Monday to Friday, and take on overtime during the evenings and at weekends.


Starting out, you may work at home or in a small office. As your venture grows, you could relocate to a larger workplace. Depending on the venture, you may have to travel to visit clients and so a driving licence might be preferable.

Type of work

The work requires you to multitask as you will undertake many different roles within your business. You can also expect to undertake significant market research.

Things to consider

Can run your own business
As you will be self-employed, you will have the flexibility to choose your hours of work.  

High starting costs
Start-up costs can be high and it is common for entrepreneurs to use their personal savings to help fund their venture.

Irregular work/job insecurity
Starting a new business venture is a big risk. You must be prepared to deal with the consequences and learn from any mistakes. 

Building your own business from scratch can be a very rewarding experience. 

Most people have an undergraduate degree and you will need previous experience/passion for the field

There are no academic entry requirements to becoming an entrepreneur. However, one of the most important requirements is to have the passion and resilience to see a new business idea or invention into fruition. Taking business studies at GCSE/National 5 or A level/H grade can be a good starting point. A business or management degree can also prove advantageous and will help to develop your knowledge of how businesses operate. You will need at least 2 A levels/3 H grades and 5 GCSEs/National 5s (C or above, or 4 or above in England) for entry onto a degree course.

Prior business experience is beneficial when applying for financial support as you will be able to demonstrate your skills and ability. Business knowledge can also be acquired through courses such as those run by the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI). The SFEDI deliver business qualifications on topics from running your business to enterprise skills development.


Salary progression
Income is often very low and unstable to begin with. It is common for business owners to use their personal savings to initially fund their venture.

After a couple of years, entrepreneurs can earn anywhere between £20,000 and £100,000.

Highly successful entrepreneurs can earn in excess of £150,000 a year, with some even earning millions.

Top Tip

The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) run an online mentoring service where you can obtain advice from experienced entrepreneurs.

Click here to explore the full library of over 650 career profiles, including multimedia content and LMI data for students to interpret and discuss.