About museumpreneurs

“The importance of being entrepreneurial”

When Culture Minister Ed Vaizey gave the Keynote speech to the 2010 Museums Association conference, he said:

“We are all aware of the extraordinary economic challenges we face. Museums need to develop a stronger instinct for partnership, mergers, commercial ventures and new approaches, (and) the importance of being entrepreneurial”

But what does that mean? How can a museum be entrepreneurial?

What is an entrepreneur?

Its not all about money.  Research* by MIT into the qualities of an entrepreneur mentions money only once – entrepreneurs use money as a measure, not just an end. And note that it’s a measure, not the measure.

The MIT research says an entrepreneur is somebody who:

- has drive and energy
- has self-confidence
- believes they can make a difference
- can cope with not knowing
- is ok with failure
- is ok with taking some risks
- takes the long-term view
- uses money as a measure, not just an end
- uses feedback
- likes solving real world problems
- uses the resources they have
- creates their own standards
- sets clear goals
- tries out new ideas

Museums and being entrepreneurial

Whether or not you agree with Ed Vaizey’s appraisal, its certainly true that those qualities can be found in museums across the country.  Many museums are trying out new and exciting ways of bringing more people to more of their collections more of the time.

At museumpreneurs, we want to explore what it means for a museum to be entrepreneurial, we want to showcase the ways in which museums are already being entrepreneurial, and we want to encourage more entrepreneurship to grow.  And, as well as flagging up the great examples of what is already happening, we want to show inspiring examples of entrepreneurship from outside the museum world.

We want to help people who work in museums, paid and volunteer, as well as people who visit museums, to help their museum to be more entrepreneurial.


*Jeffry Timmons, Massachusetts Institute of Technology