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Future of Education Q2 2024

Can generative AI supercharge entrepreneurs?

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Lari Bat

Raffaele Trapasso

Head of the Entrepreneurial Education and Skills Unit, OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship,
SMEs, Regions and Cities

Learn whether AI can spark innovation in entrepreneurship or simply replicate. Insightful studies uncover the keys to leveraging AI effectively for business growth.

Since the launch of ChatGPT in 2023, there has been a significant shift in skills demand. One recent study found that the proportion of writing jobs was falling by 30% and coding jobs by 20%. As well as replacing jobs, can it create them — by supercharging entrepreneurship?

Contrasting AI and entrepreneurship

On the surface, generative AI and entrepreneurship seem poles apart. Entrepreneurship, at its core, is about identifying opportunities, solving problems and creating value. It thrives on the ability to envision the future and navigate uncharted territory.

In contrast, generative AI operates on vast datasets, leveraging patterns and probabilities to generate outputs that mimic human-like creativity. While AI can replicate existing patterns and behaviours, entrepreneurship is about breaking new ground and anticipating needs. Essentially, AI lives in the past while entrepreneurship lives in the future.

Skilled entrepreneurs ask AI the right
questions and use it for the right jobs.

Analysing success of AI in entrepreneurship

While entrepreneurs must steer the path, AI is becoming a valuable assistant, helping them identify patterns and trends, optimise decisions and generate new marketing content. It is also helping them generate new ideas for products, markets and production methods.

Yet, trials of the deployment of AI business mentors have enjoyed mixed success to date. One recent study showed AI had little overall impact on entrepreneurs’ success on average. However, digging beneath the average, the study found the most skilled entrepreneurs gain significantly from AI —boosting the profits of the top entrepreneurs by 15% while reducing them for the worst entrepreneurs by 10%.

Maximising AI use the right way

Crucially, it’s not just having the tool. It is how it is used. Skilled entrepreneurs ask AI the right questions and use it for the right jobs. The entrepreneurial mindset provides the guiding vision, steering AI-generated insights towards innovative solutions and market opportunities. Therefore, while generative AI can serve as a valuable tool in the entrepreneurial toolkit, it must be complemented by human intuition, foresight and creativity.

To take advantage of this golden opportunity, policymakers should shift from trying to ‘gorge’ firms — especially small businesses — with top-down initiatives to promote technical digital skills that may become obsolete with ambitious initiatives to promote widespread adoption and diffusion of AI.

Policymakers must partner with local business networks that have the attention and trust of busy entrepreneurs, as well as relevant local use cases to demonstrate the power and potential of AI to change markets — and their businesses.

For more on entrepreneurship at the OECD, visit

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