4.1 Entrepreneurship

The definition of an entrepreneur can be vague in many cases.  The most succinct definition of an entrepreneur is someone with vision, drive, and creativity, who is committed to taking on risks to start a business for profit[1]. Entrepreneurs can not rest on their laurels, because, at the start, they have to be the brain, the heart, the soul, and the central nervous system of their business venture, diving into every aspect of their company, and being knowledgeable in every aspect of the operation. Below is a list of 12 questions entrepreneurs should ask themselves.[1]:

  1. What is new and novel about your idea? Are you solving a problem or need?
  2. Are there similar products/services out there? If so, what makes yours better?
  3. Who is your target market? How many people would use your product or service?
  4. Have you talked with potential customers to get their feedback? Would they buy your product?
  5. What about production costs? How much do you think the market will pay?
  6. How defensible is the concept? Is there good intellectual property?
  7. Is this innovation strategic to my business?
  8. Is the innovation easy to communicate?
  9. How might this product evolve over time? Would it be possible to expand it into a product line?
  10. Where would someone buy this product or service?
  11. How will the product/service be marketed? What are the costs to sell and market it?
  12. What are the challenges involved in developing this product or service?

One question about entrepreneurship is, how is small-business success integral to learning organizations?

Within entrepreneurship, there are three specific types of entrepreneurs:

  • Classic
  • Multipreneurs
  • Intrapreneurs

The inherent drive to start a business based on an original idea (invention or innovation) is the definition of a classic entrepreneur. This can be broken down into subsections of micropreneurs and macroprensuers or growth-orientated entrepreneurs[1]. Each one has different traits associated with their eventual goals, but the fact that they started a business based on an original idea remains.

Micropreneurs Macropreneurs
  • Based off of an original idea.
  • Start small and plan to stay small.
  • Business based on personal satisfaction and lifestyle.
  • Based off of an original idea.
  • Start small and grow to a major corporation.
  • Based on personal satisfaction, and pursuing profit.
Andrew Yang
Tech Entrepreneur and 2020 U.S. presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, discusses urban entrepreneurship at a conference in Detroit, Michigan. Image by: Asa Mathat for Techonomy, This work is free and may be used by anyone for any purpose. If you wish to use this content, you do not need to request permission as long as you follow any licensing requirements mentioned on this page. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Andrew_Yang_talking_about_urban_entrepreneurship_at_Techonomy_Conference_2015_in_Detroit,_MI.jpg

The multipreneur is someone who starts a series of companies[1]. The goal of a multipreneur is to incorporate a host of businesses and sell them to other larger companies.  One example would be an entrepreneur who creates many apps to sell to companies such as Apple or Google. Multipreneurs are always looking for fresh, innovative ways to build their companies.

The intrapreneur applies the same drive, vision, passion, and creativity into projects; they just do not have their own company. Intrapreneurs enjoy the freedom to develop new products and ideas, under the salary guidance of their employer[1], most commonly a large corporation. Although being paid by a higher entity, intrapreneaurs have a host of freedom to work within their constraints, but take less personal risks on the financial end[1].

Entrepreneurship and Learning Organizations

The concept of entrepreneurship is having vision, drive, and creativity.  Similar concepts are found in leaders who are in learning organizations to foster learning, and develop these traits in their subordinates (example: teachers and students). Therefore, leaders within a college setting who start their own initiative through drive, passion, creativity and risk would be considered entrepreneurs in many aspects. The main take-away is that the characteristics that are present in entrepreneurs are also common within the framework of leaders and managers in learning organizations.


Entrepreneurs Leaders and Managers in Learning Organizations
  • Creativity: In order to compete, entrepreneurs must be creative in developing an original product.
  • Risk Taking: mostly incurring financial risk when starting their company.
  • Self-Motivated: individually ambitious to see their company as successful
  • Creativity: must be creative to foster a rich learning experience.
  • Risk Taking: Incurring risk of a project or procedure to ensure success for members within the learning organization.
  • Self-Motivated: ambitious to see their subordinates successful in their endeavours.
Figure 1: Similarities Between Entrepreneurs and Leaders and Managers within Learning Organizations.

Ultimately, successful entrepreneurs are the ones who are working when the rest of the employees are at home.  They are the ones who open the shop in the morning and close the shop at night. In many ways, the individual entrepreneur is the company[1]; you see the individual characteristics, motivation and passion within the company and culture.

Review Questions:

  1. What is the an entrepreneur?
  2. What is the significant difference between micropreneurs and macropreneurs?
  3. What are some similarities and differences between the idea of entrepreneurship in the corporate world and the learning organization?


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Leadership and Management in Learning Organizations Copyright © by Clayton Smith; Carson Babich; and Mark Lubrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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