January 31, 2012
Entrepreneurship is the act of being an entrepreneur, which can be defined as “one who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods". This may result in new organizations or may be part of revitalizing mature organizations in response to a perceived opportunity. The most obvious form of entrepreneurship is that of starting new businesses (referred as Startup Company); however, in recent years, the term has been extended to include social and political forms of entrepreneurial activity. When entrepreneurship is describing activities within a firm or large organization it is referred to as intra-preneurship and may include corporate venturing, when large entities spin-off organizations.
According to Paul Reynolds, entrepreneurship scholar and creator of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, “by the time they reach their retirement years, half of all working men in the United States probably have a period of self-employment of one or more years; one in four may have engaged in self-employment for six or more years. Participating in a new business creation is a common activity among U.S. workers over the course of their careers." And in recent years has been documented by scholars such as David Audretsch to be a major driver of economic growth in both the United States and Western Europe. “As well, entrepreneurship may be defined as the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled (Stevenson,1983)"
Entrepreneurial activities are substantially different depending on the type of organization and creativity involved. Entrepreneurship ranges in scale from solo projects (even involving the entrepreneur only part-time) to major undertakings creating many job opportunities. Many “high value" entrepreneurial ventures seek venture capital or angel funding (seed money) in order to raise capital to build the business. Angel investors generally seek annualized returns of 20-30% and more, as well as extensive involvement in the business. Many kinds of organizations now exist to support would-be entrepreneurs including specialized government agencies, business incubators, science parks, and some NGOs. In more recent times, the term entrepreneurship has been extended to include elements not related necessarily to business formation activity such as conceptualizations of entrepreneurship as a specific mindset (see also entrepreneurial mindset) resulting in entrepreneurial initiatives e.g. in the form of social entrepreneurship, political entrepreneurship, or knowledge entrepreneurship have emerged.
Entrepreneurs have many of the same character traits as leaders, similar to the early great man theories of leadership; however trait-based theories of entrepreneurship are increasingly being called into question. Entrepreneurs are often contrasted with managers and administrators who are said to be more methodical and less prone to risk-taking. Such person-centric models of entrepreneurship have shown to be of questionable validity, not least as many real-life entrepreneurs operate in teams rather than as single individuals. Still, a vast literature studying the entrepreneurial personality found that certain traits seem to be associated with entrepreneurs:
David McClelland – primarily motivated by an overwhelming need for achievement and strong urge to build.
Collins and Moore – tough, pragmatic people driven by needs of independence and achievement. They seldom are willing to submit to authority.
Bird – mercurial, that is, prone to insights, brainstorms, deceptions, ingeniousness and resourcefulness. they are cunning, opportunistic, creative, and unsentimental.
Cooper, Woo, & Dunkelberg – argue that entrepreneurs exhibit extreme optimism in their decision-making processes.
Busenitz and Barney – prone to overconfidence and over generalizations.
Cole – found there are four types of entrepreneur: the innovator, the calculating inventor, the over-optimistic promoter, and the organization builder. These types are not related to the personality but to the type of opportunity the entrepreneur faces.
John Howkins – focused specifically on creative entrepreneurship. He found that entrepreneurs in the creative industries needed a specific set of traits including the ability to prioritise ideas over data, to be nomadic and to learn endlessly.