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'Intrapreneurship' versus 'Entrepreneurship'

Published on 26/08/2013

What exactly is an ‘intrapreneur’ ?

How often do you come across this word, compared to the more conventional, more widely known word ‘entrepreneur’ ?

My experience is that more than 90% of people have never heard the word 'intrapreneur' before.  When I describe its meaning, I often get a look of amazement and curiosity !

Although, the two words are very related to each other, there is a distinct difference, in terms of the responsibilities and chosen career path of each person.

The dictionary describes an ‘intrapreneur’ as a person within an organisation who undertakes something new, without being asked to do so; a person who focuses on innovation and creativity, and transforms an idea into a profitable venture, while operating within the organisational environment.

So, an ‘intrapreneur’ is essentially an ‘entrepreneurial employee’.

Another way of comparing the difference of the two terms is that an entrepreneur will typically be financially accountable for their business venture, as compared to an intrapreneur who is generally not.  It’s like comparing the difference between the mindset of an employee versus that of a business owner. 

At the end of the day, an employee can simply go home after a day’s work and not worry so much about whether the business will be in existence tomorrow or in the distant future.  A business owner however will commonly absorb 100% of the risk and feel completely accountable.

Putting this real fact aside, in today’s economic environment, businesses need more employees who regularly demonstrate ‘entrepreneurial’ characteristics and work habits to fuel growth.  

The success of an employee lies in their ability to manage short-term priorities, but equally maintaining a strategic ‘entrepreneurial’ approach to their work habits on a daily basis.

Essentially, an entrepreneurial employee, or ‘intrapreneur’, will add value to the organisation beyond what is expected within their role, to set themselves apart from other employees.

To understand more about how to develop entrepreneurial employees (or intrapreneurs) within your business, please click here.

(Article written by Federico Re - Creative Entrepreneur)

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