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Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship: Understanding the Difference

Starting up a business or creating a new idea to develop a new product takes different forms. These forms are also taken up by different entrepreneurs based in their personality, experience and skills. There’s one who is only about solving social problems and is not really concerned about the financial benefits from the business, there’s the innovator who starts a business from scratch with a very unique idea that has never existed before, to follow that is another who copies the innovators idea but changes the implementation. And not to forget, the one whose watchword is hardwork and another who has the money to buy a business. Entrepreneurs vary and even though there might be similarities in all these people, they are doing exactly different things to get what they want. The relation between entrepreneurs is what brings about the concept of Intrapreneurship.

What is Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is basically the creation of a new business and Entrepreneurs, as we may all know, are individuals who come up with these ideas that helps to develop their own unique products or business. They initiate a change, bring something new and work towards bringing things to invidivuals to make their lives easier, much better and also to achieve goals with more efficiency. They are the sole owners of the business and they take all the decisions to be taken. They are also known as risk takers who possess several skills that puts them in a position to handle, manage, improve and sustain their businesses. They are leaders and they work independently and answer to only themselves.

What is Intrapreneurship?

Intrapreneurship, on the other hand, is a different thing entirely even though there are some similarities as mentioned before. According to Wikipedia, Intrapreneurship is the act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization. Intrapreneurship is known as the practice of a corporate management style that integrates risk-taking and innovation approaches, as well as the reward and motivational techniques, that are more traditionally thought of as being the province of entrepreneurship. So basically, an Intrapreneur is an employee who works for an entrepreneur but with certain perks and authority to come up with innovative ideas that helps the business.

The Intrapreneurs have benefits that make them also feel in charge of the business though they definitely have boundaries too. They work hand in hand with other employees to develop ideas that will benefit the company and bring progress. This often happens in small companies still in the development stage. Employees are considered as part of the company and their ideas are not only welcome but they are also implemented, if agreed to. So they are core parts of the company. Despite their role in a business, all things relating to risk taking, financial needs and some other decisions are still the sole responsibility of the entrepreneur. Even when an Intrapreneur brings an idea, it has to be tabled before the entrepreneur for approval.

Basically, an Intrapreneur is just someone who acts as an entrepreneur in an organization. The responsibilities they have are quite similar to that of entrepreneurs and that is why they are called inside entrepreneurs. They are self starters who are ambitious, goal oriented, proactive, creative and can take up certain roles in an organization. In some cases, Intrapreneurs take up more than one role in an organization and are in charge of a number of things. They are important for the progress of the business as the company relies on their inputs in the positions they are allowed to fill in.

Differences between Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs

If there’s one thing that must have been established, it’s the fact that entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs are different. Similar to some extent but different. The need for them became even more with the regular advancements in technology which have allowed businesses to think more and bring more innovations to be able to give their products a chance of succeeding in the market. In the next sub heads, I’ll be discussing some of the differences between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs based on some certain points.

1. History

The word Entrepreneurship came about thousands of years ago. It was first used to describe individuals who took up a new role. They were also known as the undertakers of a new opportunity. They were people who saw a problem, identified it and brought about solutions to help tackle it. The early entrepreneurs were people who traded things to get something else and most of them were farmers. Specialization helped to properly put roles into the concept of entrepreneurship.

Intrapreneurs, however, were first mentioned in 1980 in a book published by Management Consultants Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot. The book described Intrapreneurs as “dreamers who take initiative for producing innovative technologies of any sort, within an organization”. Over the years, Intrapreneurship has become popular with the need for brands and companies to expand their creative resources and bring more innovations to their products to sustain it in this era of technology.

2. Roles

Entrepreneurs creates a new business either from scratch or from an existing business. Either way, he/she is involved in the development of new ideas used in developing the business. They also take risks and do almost everything involved in making sure the business is successful. They are the sole owners and the main decision makers. They have freedom to make whatever decisions they feel is right for the business and can alter design whenever they feel like it.

Intrapreneurs works under an entrepreneur. They don’t create the business instead they work in an already established business. They help with taking up tasks to help the business and are given the opportunity to come up with new ideas and innovation for the business. They are limited to that and are not in any way decision makers for the company. All decisions to be made eventually goes to the office of the entrepreneur.

3. Investment

As an entrepreneur, it is your duty and responsibility to source for funds to help start up a business. Everything regarding the investment of money or anything at all that involves spending money is totally the responsibility of the entrepreneur. They are the ones who develop the ideas and come up with ways to get money to be able to run the business. It is after that, they’ll begin to employ people to take up roles if they want.

Intrapreneurs have no hand in investments. They have no issue with the financial aspect of the organization and how money comes in or goes out is not their responsibility.

4. Risks

Generally, entrepreneurs are the risk takers in the business. They take the necessary risks as to the needs of the business. Also, in times of failure or losses, the entrepreneur bears all the losses alone. All the things put in place and how it goes wrong is totally put on the entrepreneur. He/she is responsible for the failure and how it is managed.

The Intrapreneur has no concern with risks at all. The risks the company takes is not their business and how the company deals with losses is also not their problem. They are restricted to bring innovation and ideas, risks is not their business.

5. Resources

All resources to be utilized during the process of running or operating the business is to be provided by the entrepreneur. He/she sees that everything needed for the implementation of their strategy or idea is in place so that work can move. They pay for the resources and work to get all the neccesary things available.

Intrapreneurs work with what the company provides. Simply put, what is provided is what is used, it doesn’t go beyond that. They’re not concerned with how resources get to the company, the entrepreneur does.

6. Benefits

Just as the risks are the sole problem of the owner, the benefits are for the owners. It is the decision of the entrepreneur to do whatever he/she sees as necessary with the profits or benefits derived from the business. Entrepreneurs suffer the losses alone and enjoy the profits alone.

For Intrapreneurs, career rewards or anything similar is there for the taking. The organization reaps all the benefits and it is up to them to determine what to do with it, that includes if the intrapreneur should have some benefits too though it is less likely. They are rewarded with incentives or promotions for the ideas they bring that eventually leads to success.

If there’s one thing to note from both individuals, it is their ability to think out of the box and come up with creative ideas that helps boost the success of the business. Entrepreneurs might be the initiators of change and owners of new businesses, but Intrapreneurs can help with sustaining it and attaining success.






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