They envision change, solve problems and take risks.
They launch new ventures, see them to fruition and then start or invest in new ones. And even when there is a bump in the road, they adapt, change course and dive right in again. And they don't like to be told they can't do it.
They're successful serial entrepreneurs, and they're a rare breed.
"These are very elite people," said Ted Zoller, senior fellow with The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the director of the Kenan-Flagler Business School's Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"They are the top of the heap, the entrepreneurs who are really sought after for their market insight, for their knowledge of opportunities, for their strategic contacts, and for their leadership abilities to organize teams and build companies," he said.
And their work is anything but mundane.
"They break industry standards and look for opportunities to create new value where it doesn't exist, eliminate dysfunction, make things more efficient and create products that don't exist," said Zoller, who has researched serial entrepreneurs. "In a word, they are painkillers. They look for markets that are in pain and come up with solutions."
Next week commemorates Global Entrepreneurship Week, with dozens of events, mostly free, taking place across South Florida. The University of Miami, St. Thomas University, Miami Dade College and Florida International University will all host panel discussions, presentations, seminars or contests to nurture developing entrepreneurial ventures.
True serial entrepreneurs comprise a tiny subset of business people. While an estimated 8 percent of all entrepreneurs launch a second venture, only 1.75 percent launch three or more, Zoller said.
Many times, they grew up with a parent or a family member who was an entrepreneur. Often, they don't do well in conventional education, may show signs of entrepreneurship at a young age and drop out to start a business, he said.
Entrepreneurs may be rebels who defy authority and are creative, tenacious and adaptable, said Jerry Haar, associate dean and director of the Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center at Florida International University's College of Business Administration.
"And they tend not to have bruised egos, so they bounce back real fast," he said.
Moreover, they may have been "deprived of something, whether political or economic," Haar said. "So, you have that kind of resilience -- the ability to show others that you have what it takes."
A serial entrepreneur creates a business, grows it, then sells it or takes it public, bringing in loads of cash.
They may stay on for a period of time, and then go off and create a new company.
Often, they may create a holding company to invest in multiple companies. They often serve on advisory boards or boards of investors of other firms. They often have a group of people that invests with them, and they form a syndicate based on trust and market insight, Zoller said.
"They do it because they love entrepreneurship. They love building. They love being involved with leaders and they like to remain relevant in their markets," he said.
We found three highly successful serial entrepreneurs in South Florida
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