The Founding Entrepreneurs


As we celebrated Independence Day, I was struck by how deeply our entrepreneurial spirit is rooted in this country. And a big part of that is that our Founding Fathers were a group of entrepreneurs. Many of them were entrepreneurs in business, and they all approached our country’s future with an entrepreneurial spirit.

The Founding Fathers were not just career politicians. There were experienced businessmen, like John Hancock and Samuel Adams. There were professionals, like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the many other lawyers and doctors among them. And there were men who could not be described as anything but entrepreneurs, like Benjamin Franklin.

That background made a big difference when they set to work fighting for our independence and building this nation. They weren’t just talkers; they were doers, and were willing to do whatever it took to do what was right. They took action, and led by example in good times and bad.

Their boldness was a model of the entrepreneurial spirit, too. They were willing to take risks and do the unthinkable, even at great personal cost. Many of them were among the most successful people in the colonies, but they didn’t fight to preserve the status quo and their own position. No one thought that they had a chance against the most powerful country in the world, but they saw opportunity for something more important than their personal wealth, and challenged Great Britain by declaring independence.

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And the Founding Fathers weren’t afraid of new ideas. When it came time to form their own government, they didn’t just recreate a local version of Britain’s—they worked together to create something new, something that had never been tried in history.

Above all, they took control over their own destiny. There is nothing more entrepreneurial than that. The future was not left to chance; they played an active part in speaking out and taking action, looking for ways to make life better for the people around them.

As entrepreneurs, that is the spirit we should be living every day. Take action. Take chances and try new things, and think creatively about new ideas and opportunities. And control your own destiny. It’s never too late to start a business, and it’s never too late to encourage that entrepreneurial spirit in our communities.

This article was originally published by AMAC

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Fran Tarkenton

Fran Tarkenton

Fran Tarkenton is an entrepreneur and NFL Hall of Famer, and the founder of and Tarkenton Companies. With a passion for small business, he’s started more than 20 businesses during and after his NFL career. Fran is a small business coach for entrepreneurs and business owners, providing advice and guidance through sites such as,, and more. He has written about business issues in the Wall Street Journal, U.S. New and World Report, and USA Today, along with regular appearances on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. You can follow Fran on Twitter @Fran_Tarkenton.