Understanding Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship

Understanding Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship

Understanding Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship

Who is an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur, Small business owner manager, Entrepreneur and Entrepreneurship

There is no clear consensus among entrepreneurship specialists on the definition of the word ‘entrepreneur’ or that of its derivative, 'entrepreneurship'. While some people would treat small business owner managers and entrepreneurs as synonymous, the bulk of the entrepreneurship specialists attempt to draw a distinction between them. This distinction is central to an understanding of the meaning of 'entrepreneur'. We proceed to look at the definitions of these terms with a view to delineating the differences among them.

Small business owner manager

A small business owner manager is one that manages a small firm or venture. There is no single agreed upon definition of the small firm. "Small business" is usually defined using a combination of quantitative and qualitative criteria, including: number of employees; total assets; share capital; number of shareholders; market share; composition of management; degree of formalization; etc. Some of the common definitions are as follows:

A small business is a firm with the following features
(1) its share of the market is relatively small
(2) capital is supplied and ownership is held by an individual or a small group; and (3) area of operation is mainly local.
(4) Workers and owners are in one community, but markets need not be local

Economically a small firm has a relatively small share of the market. Managerially, it is administered by its owners or part owners in a personalized way, rather than by means of a formalized management structure. Financially, it is independent in the sense that it does not form part of a larger enterprise and owner managers are free from outside control in taking their principal decisions

An entrepreneur

Some of the definitions of entrepreneur that have been proposed over the years are as follows:

a) One who develops new profitable business opportunities by combining resources in a new way
b) Is an individual who owns and manages a business for the principle purpose of profit and growth. The entrepreneur is characterized principally by innovative behaviour and will employ strategic management practices in the business
c) A contractor acting as intermediary between capital and labour; one who undertakes an enterprise; one who owns and manages a business; a person who takes the risk of profit or loss
d) One can also refer to an entrepreneur as some one who engages in the process of entrepreneurship. This calls for behavioral definition of the term ‘entrepreneurship’.
e) An entrepreneur takes initiative, organizes some socio economic mechanisms, and accepts risks of failure
f) An entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity


Entrepreneurship has two meanings. First, it refers to the field of knowledge derived from the study of entrepreneurs. Secondly, it refers to processes which entrepreneurs undertake, and therefore distinguish them from others. Entrepreneurship as a process has been defined as follows:

a) Entrepreneurial behavior is opportunistic, value driven, value adding, risk accepting, creative activity where ideas take the form of organizational birth, growth, or transformation .
b) Entrepreneurship is the process of creating something different with value by devoting the necessary time and efforts, assuming the accompanying financial, psychic, and social risks, and receiving rewards of monetary and personal satisfaction and independence


Intrapreneur is a term drawn from and closely related to the entrepreneur. It refers to an individual who operates in an entrepreneurial way, from within an established organization rather than by founding or building up his or her own firm Some have referred to him as 'administrative entrepreneur'

The intrapreneur need not be a chief executive; it is sufficient for him or her to operate in an entrepreneurial way. Therefore, different kinds of managers with or without shares in the organisations in which they work may be intrapreneurs.

Entrepreneurship vs. Small Business

Many people use the terms “entrepreneur” and “small business owner synonymously. While they may have much in common, there are significant differences between the entrepreneurial venture and the small business. Entrepreneurial ventures differ from small businesses in these ways:

1. Amount of wealth creation – rather than simply generating an income stream that replaces traditional employment, a successful entrepreneurial venture creates substantial wealth, typically in excess of several cash of profit.
2. Speed of wealth creation – while a successful small business can generate several cash of profit over a lifetime, entrepreneurial wealth creation is often rapid; for example, within 5 years.
3. Risk – the risk of an entrepreneurial venture must be high; otherwise, with the incentive of sure profits many entrepreneurs would be pursuing the idea and the opportunity no longer would exist.
4. Innovation – entrepreneurship often involves substantial innovation beyond what a small business might exhibit. This innovation may be competitive advantage that results in wealth creation. The innovation may be in the product or service itself, or in the business processes used to deliver it.

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