Last Updated on January 24, 2023
Building a business venture from the ground up isn’t a walk in the park. It requires the combination of an undying spirit of enterprise, sheer resilience, and passion for your trade. That explains why numerous startups take off on a high note, only to begin soaring into financial headwinds barely weeks after their establishment. One of the best ways to keep growing in the world of entrepreneurship is to have a collection of speeches from renowned entrepreneurs that you can always turn to for inspiration.
Motivational speeches on entrepreneurship will be instrumental throughout the growth of your business venture. Using these speeches, you’ll be able to determine whether your business is on the right path or not. The quotes will also help you to understand the various challenges that entrepreneurs all over the world go through, as well as develop capacity and resilience to overcome those challenges.
We’ve prepared a collection of the best motivational speeches on entrepreneurship from people who have been there and done that. The speeches were collated from industry leaders across various domains, from managers of global tech giants to retail moguls. As you shall find, most of these inspirational speeches for entrepreneurs are more than a couple of minutes long. Therefore, we’ve included short snippets about each one of them, accompanied by YouTube videos that you watch.
1. Pursuit of Happiness by Will Smith
Theme of Speech: Excelling despite your background
If you’ve already watched the 2006’s sensational film titled The Pursuit of Happyness by Will Smith, then you’re already fairly acquainted with the underlying lesson from this speech. The speech attempts to challenge entrepreneurs to pursue their full measure of happiness and success, despite their background. What makes Pursuit of Happiness one of the best motivational speeches for entrepreneurs is that the scenes are acted out by father and son, which lends more credence to their pieces of advice.
2. Any Given Sunday by Al Pacino
Theme of Speech: The importance of leveraging competitive advantage, however subtle it may seem
This motivational speech for entrepreneurs is all about capitalizing on any competitive advantage that your business gains, however insignificant it may seem. Those seemingly insignificant milestones can make a world of difference in terms of outpacing competition.
3. Why We Do What We Do (TedX Speech) by Tony Robbins
Theme of Speech: Invisible forces that drive our actions
Do you understand why you do what you do? Have you ever asked yourself why you keep implementing the same old business strategies, despite those strategies having proven to be economically unviable in the past? It all has to do with certain invisible forces within you. This speech by Tony Robins might help you understand those forces.
4. It’s Not OVER Until You Win! Your Dream is Possible by Les Brown
Theme of Speech: Overcoming challenges
Les Brown adds more life to the good old saying that ‘failure is not an option.’ But he doesn’t just stop there. In this sobering and spellbinding speech on entrepreneurship, the motivational speaker addresses what you should do to overcome challenges, so that you don’t lose sight of your dreams.
5. The Most Motivational Talk EVER! by David Goggins
Theme of Speech: Success and discipline
Self-discipline plays a crucial role in spurring entrepreneurial success, and nobody understands that better than David Goggins. Goggins enjoys a career as a decorated Navy Seal and army ranger, as well as an ultra-marathon runner. He also holds the record for the most pull-ups in 24 hours (4,030). It definitely takes self-discipline to accomplish these feats.
6. Tulane University 2009 Commencement Speech by Ellen DeGeneres
Theme of Speech: Overcoming adversity while remaining true to your ideals
Ellen DeGeneres is proudly gay. DeGeneres is also an accomplished entrepreneur and media personality. By virtue of her sexual orientation and impressive career achievements, she’s better placed to advise entrepreneurs on the need to overcome adversity without compromising their principles and ideals.
7. Harvard Business School 2012 Class Day Speech by Sheryl Sandberg
Theme of Speech: Finding your niche
According to this speech by Sheryl Sandberg, success lies in finding a career where you can create maximum impact. Her speech underscores the importance of venturing into an industry that you feel so passionate about.
8. How to Live Before You Die: 2005 Stanford University Commencement Speech by Steve Jobs
Theme of Speech: Career and failure
If the millions of views on YouTube and other platforms are anything to go by, then it’s safe to admit that this speech by Steve Jobs struck the right chords. In the speech, Jobs explains how his journey to the top as one of the world’s most celebrated tech innovators was a long and arduous one. He also touches on how you can leverage failure to bounce back.
9. The Puzzle of Motivation: 2009 TED Talk by Dan Pink
Theme of Speech: The need to discover and explore intrinsic motivation
Many entrepreneurs are motivated by incentives like profits and bonuses. While there’s nothing wrong with these, Dan Pink argues that the greatest motivators of entrepreneurial success lie within us. But these aren’t just his own hypotheses, Dan Pink actually backs up his claims by numerous sociological studies.
10. University of Houston Commencement Speech by Matthew McConaughey
Theme of Speech: Pursuing success on your own terms
Success means different things to different people. Some entrepreneurs define success in terms of how many global destinations their businesses cover. Others define success by the number of competitors they can outpace within their regions. Matthew McConaughey believes that every businessperson must have their own idea of success and work towards it.
11. The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination: 2008 Harvard Commencement Speech by J.K Rowling
Theme of Speech: Failure and imagination
In the world of entrepreneurship, failure is inevitable. However, failure shouldn’t stifle your progress, neither should it dampen your resolve to succeed. Instead, it should awaken your imagination and help you discover where your true passions and talents are. These, and more, are some of the vital lessons on entrepreneurship you’ll learn from this speech.
12. Rocky Balboa “Believe in Yourself “by Sylvester Stallone
Theme of Speech: Self-confidence
The world is a tough and mean place. It doesn’t matter how qualified an entrepreneur you are. It doesn’t even matter how much money you’re ready and willing to invest in a startup. Without believing that you can make it, all of your other efforts will be purely in vain.
13. Gym Motivation by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Theme of Speech: Being passionate about your career
At first, glance, this motivational speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger appears to be intended exclusively for fitness freaks. However, the speech contains fundamental lessons that entrepreneurs can borrow. It’s all about starting small and using your passion to soar to greater heights.
14. This Is Water: 2005 Kenyon College Commencement Speech by David Foster Wallace
Theme of Speech: The perils of close-mindedness
David Foster Wallace’s 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon College attempts to address the dangers of being close-minded. Wallace argues that numerous entrepreneurs fail due to their inability to approach the business landscape with a broad and open mind.
15. 8 Secrets of Success by Richard St. John
Theme of Speech: Passion and perseverance
8 Secrets of Success by Richard St. John may be one of the shortest motivational speeches for entrepreneurs on this list. But it contains some fundamentally impactful lessons that every businessperson can put into practice. The speech, which is a condensed version of years of research, focuses on throwing your full weight behind a business idea that you’re passionate about.
16. I Can, I Will, I Must by Eric Thomas
Theme of Speech: Sharpening your resolve to succeed
This motivational speech by Eric Thomas takes a rather unique approach to entrepreneurship. It seeks to challenge us to focus on the people we love the most as our main source of inspiration whenever we feel like giving up. Thomas argues that thinking about those special people in our lives every day can positively shape our business decisions.
17. Secret to Self-motivation by Mel Robbins
Theme of Speech: Self-motivation
Self-motivation is a critical component of success, particularly in the corporate world. However, many entrepreneurs are constantly bogged down by nagging doubts and constant fears, which ultimately drain their positive energies and impede their progress. If you’re one such businessperson, here’s your golden chance to uncover the top secrets to self-motivation.
18. New Year, New You by Tony Robbins
Theme of Speech: Reinventing yourself
Every year comes with its fair share of blessings and challenges. In this motivational speech, Tony Robbins highlights the importance of making lasting changes in your life and career. Robbins challenges entrepreneurs to desist from focusing on abstract goals and resolutions, and instead focus on what truly matters.
19. Fall Forward: 2011 UPenn Commencement Speech by Denzel Washington
Theme of Speech: Failure
Denzel Washington highlights the significance of embracing failure in our quests for success. First, he argues that failure is not unique to the uneducated or inexperienced, as anyone can fail. He also adds that the lack of failure is a sign that you aren’t making any meaningful progress. Most importantly, Washington reminds us that failure will help you to identify the strategies that won’t work.
20. Live2Lead by Simon Sinek
Theme of Speech: Leadership
Simon Sinek advances a very interesting aspect of corporate leadership – that true leaders don’t delight in taking credit, but taking responsibility. Sinek also opines that many ventures collapse due to their owners’ obsession with their competitors, instead of focusing on growing their own brands.
No business can magic itself into success. The process of building any business empire is both a capital- and time-intensive affair. As a businessman, you should arm yourself with all the requisite resources to get your venture from one point to another.
Motivational speeches for entrepreneurs are some of these necessary resources. We hope you can bookmark the above collection of motivational speeches on entrepreneurship and invoke them from time to time as you endeavor to scale your business to new heights.