Entrepreneur: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An entrepreneur is a person who has possession of a new enterprise, venture or idea and assumes significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome.[note 1] The term is originally a loanword from French and was first defined by the Irish economist Richard Cantillon. Entrepreneur in English is a term applied to the type of personality who is willing to take upon herself or himself a new venture or enterprise and accepts full responsibility for the outcome. Jean-Baptiste Say, a French economist is believed to have coined the word "entrepreneur" first in about 1800. He said an entrepreneur is "one who undertakes an enterprise, especially a contractor, acting as intermediatory between capital and labour."[note 2]



Entrepreneurship is often difficult and tricky, resulting in many new ventures failing. The word entrepreneur is often synonymous with founder. Most commonly, the term entrepreneur applies to someone who creates value by offering a product or service, by carving out a niche in the market that may not exist currently. Entrepreneurs tend to identify a market opportunity and exploit it by organizing their resources effectively to accomplish an outcome that changes existing interactions within a given sector.

Observers see them as being willing to accept a high level of personal, professional or financial risk to pursue opportunity.

Business entrepreneurs are viewed as fundamentally important in the capitalistic society. Some distinguish business entrepreneurs as either "political entrepreneurs" or "market entrepreneurs," while social entrepreneurs' principal objectives include the creation of a net social benefit.

As a leader

Scholar Robert. B. Reich considers leadership, management ability, and team-building as essential qualities of an entrepreneur. This concept has its origins in the work of Richard Cantillon in his Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général (1755) and Jean-Baptiste Say (1803 or 1834)[note 3] in his Treatise on Political Economy.

A more generally held theory is that entrepreneurs emerge from the population on demand, from the combination of opportunities and people well-positioned to take advantage of them. An entrepreneur may perceive that they are among the few to recognize or be able to solve a problem. In this view, one studies on one side the distribution of information available to would-be entrepreneurs (see Austrian School economics) and on the other, how environmental factors (access to capital, competition, etc.), change the rate of a society's production of entrepreneurs.[citation needed]

A prominent theorist of the Austrian School in this regard is Joseph Schumpeter, who saw the entrepreneur as innovators and popularized the uses of the phrase creative destruction to describe his view of the role of entrepreneurs in changing business norms. Creative destruction dealt with the changes entrepreneurial activity makes every time a new process, product or company enters the market.

Research into entrepreneurs

Schumpeter argues that the entrepreneur is an innovator, one that introduces new technologies into the workplace or market, increasing efficiency, productivity or generating new products or services (Deakins and Freel 2009). Other academics such as Say, Casson and Cantillon, say the entrepreneur is an organiser of factors or production that acts as a catalyst for economic change (Deakins and Freel, 2009). Shackle argues that the entrepreneur is a highly creative individual that imagines new solutions providing new opportunities for reward (Deakins and Freel, 2009). These are a few definitions from the entrepreneurship field but show the complexity and lack of cohesion between academic research (Gartner, 2001). Most research focuses on the traits of the entrepreneur. Cope (2001) argues that although certain entrepreneurial traits are required the entrepreneurs behaviour are dynamic and influenced by environmental factors.

Shane and VenKataraman (2000) argue the entrepreneur is solely concerned with opportunity recognition and exploitation; however, the opportunity that is recognised depends on the type of entrepreneur which Ucbasaran et al (2001) argue there are many different types of dependant on their business and personal circumstances.

Social Entrepreneur

Social entrepreneurs act within a market aiming to create social value through the improvement of goods and services offered to the community. Their main aim is to help offer a better service improving the community as a whole and are predominately run as non profit schemes. To support this point Zahra et al (2009: 519) said that “social entrepreneurs make significant and diverse contributions to their communities and societies, adopting business models to offer creative solutions to complex and persistent social problems”. Examples of socially run businesses include the NHS and also the 'Love One Water' drinks brand.

See also


  1. ^ Sullivan, Arthur; Steven M. Sheffrin (2003). Economics: Principles in action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. pp. 6. ISBN 0-13-063085-3. http://www.pearsonschool.com/index.cfm?locator=PSZ3R9&PMDbSiteId=2781&PMDbSolutionId=6724&PMDbCategoryId=&PMDbProgramId=12881&level=4. 
  2. ^ Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus, Tim Hindle, The Economist, page 77,
  3. ^ See WILLIAM J. BAUMOL, ROBERT E. LITAN & CARL J. SCHRAMM. GOOD CAPITALISM, BAD CAPITALISM, AND THE ECONOMICS OF GROWTH AND PROSPERITY 3 (2007) (citing generally PETER F. DRUCKER. INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP (1985) (attributing coining and defining of “entrepreneur” to JEAN-BAPTISTE SAY, A TREATISE ON POLITICAL ECONOMY (1834)); but see Robert H. Brockhaus, Sr., The Psychology of the Entrepreneur, in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP 40 (Calvin A. Kent, et al. eds. 1982) (citing J.S. MILL, PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY WITH SOME OF THEIR APPLICATIONS TO SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY (1848). Note that, despite Baumol et al.'s citation, the Drucker book was published in 1986.


  • Deakins, D. And Freel, M. (2009). Entrepreneurship and small Firms. 5th Edition, McGraw Hill.
  • Gartner, W.B., (2001). Is there an Elephant in Entrepreneurship? Blind Assumptions in Theory Development. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Summer 2001.
  • Ucbasaran, D., Westhead, P., and Wright, M., (2001). The Focus of Entrepreneurial Research: Contextual and Process Issues. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Summer 2001.
  • Venkataraman, S., and Shane, S., (2000). The Promise of Entrepreneurship as A Field of Research. Academy of Management Review, Vol 25 (1), 217-226.
  • Zahra, Gedajlovic, Neubaum, Shulman (2009). A typology of social entrepreneurs’ Journal of Business Venturing. 24 (5), pp. 519–532.

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

What is an Entrepreneur?

The term entrepreneur has existed in our vocabulary for more than 250 years and the dictionary defines it as: en•tre•pre•neur (ŏn'trə-prə-nûr', -nʊr')

The word "entrepreneur" derives from the French words entre, meaning "between," and prendre, meaning "to take."

The word was originally used to describe people who "take on the risk" between buyers and sellers or who "undertake" a task such as starting a new venture.

A popular misconception is that inventors and entrepreneurs are one in the same. This is not the case. An inventor creates something new. An entrepreneur assembles and then integrates all the resources needed—the money, the people, the business model, the strategy, and the risk-bearing ability—to transform the invention into a viable business. He or she is a person who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for a business venture. They have a talent for honing in on opportunities and have the abilities needed to develop those opportunities into profit-making businesses.

The age of the entrepreneur has now well and truly arrived. Twenty years ago the word buccaneer would have been used in the same breath as entrepreneur, but now the definition of an entrepreneur is someone who is willing to take risks to successfully launch a product or service.

“It is a contradiction in terms to call yourself an entrepreneur when you're actually betting other people's money. Let's define the entrepreneur as someone who is willing to take a risk with their own capital. In other words, they have upside but they also have considerable downside. The other thing that unites us as entrepreneurs is a burning desire to be our own bosses.” Sir Stelios Haji-loannou Founder and chairman, easyGroup

More useful information about entrepreneurs

So you want to be an Entrepreneur?, Jon Gillespie-Brown, 2008 Wiley & Co

Simple English

An entrepreneur is a person who takes decisions to manage resources from day-to-day and owns a business.

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