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Definition of an entrepreneur:
Identifying common points in different definitions

If you want to find one or the best definition of an entrepreneur, probably you'll find that is a difficult task without (sometimes) a satisfactory conclusion. That happened to me when I was beginning my career in the venture capital field.

What really helped me and can help you too is review and analyze some definitions and identify common points that better describe the entrepreneurial profile.

Let's review some definitions:

According to dictionary.com, the definition of an entrepreneur is: a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, esp. a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

Wikipedia defines an entrepreneur as a person who has possession of an enterprise, or venture, and assumes significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome.

J. B. Say, French economist, circa 1800 said that the entrepreneur shifts resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.

Joseph Schumpeter, Austrian economist, 1911 said that entrepreneurship is creative destruction. Dynamic disequilibrium brought on by the innovating entrepreneur, rather than equilibrium and optimization, is the norm of a healthy economy and the central reality of economic theory and practice.

Peter Drucker said that the entrepreneur searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity. Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the
means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service.

Finally, Howard Stevenson from Harvard Business School says that entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to the resources currently under one's control.

If you analyze the above definitions, you can find some common points, I would like to emphasize the following as the key drivers of the entrepreneurial activity:

  • Opportunity - Risk, means that entrepreneurs look for opportunities and opportunities normally involves risk.
  • People, means that entrepreneurs don't do things alone, they work as a team with the best human resources they can find.
  • Resources, means entrepreneurs know that any idea requires money and are committed to risk their own resources and how to get or use other people's money.

As I mentioned there are no such thing as a single definition of an entrepreneur but analyzing different definitions really helps.

Now let's get back to the main page of this section to learn more. Just use the links below.

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