What is entrepreneurship?

As defined on Wikipedia, 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”.

Since there is a lot of hype around entrepreneurship as a concept and the entrepreneur as a person, there are also a lot of discussions about definitions:

  • Is entrepreneurship about starting a new venture from scratch or is it also about creating new activities or business units in an existing organization?
  • Is entrepreneurship about launching a new and innovative product or service or is it simply about starting a business – innovative or not?
  • Is entrepreneurship about growth potential and big business or is it simply about making a living for the entrepreneur and maybe a few employees?
  • Is entrepreneurship about making profit or is it also about making a difference through a non-profit organization?

In the hype around entrepreneurship we often hear the stories about Google and Facebook and a generation earlier about Apple and MicroSoft. We often hear the stories about how students dropped out of college and created a fantasillion dollar business in no time. This is quite fascinating, but also a bit intimidating and very far away from where you are right now. And it gives the impression that entrepreneurship is about coming up with a fantastic and unique product that will change the world.

The problem with this is:

  • The Growth Myth: New businesses that grow bigger than a football team are the tip of the iceberg and the Google’s and Facebook’s of entrepreneurship are just ice crystals on the tip of the iceberg. So stop waiting for the world changing idea to pop up in your brain and start selling whatever you can make.
  • The Investor Myth: Fantastic ideas with unlimited growth potential attracts millions and millions in venture capital from investors. This gives the impression, that if you have a good idea, there will be investors ready to help you with the money you need. However, raising money for an innovative idea is like qualifying for the national football team. Only the 11 best in the country get picked. Okay, maybe a bit more, but you get my point, so start making something you can do for your own money.
  • The Genius Myth: Picking great business leaders in worldwide corporations as rolemodels suggests that entrepreneurs are great personalities with brilliant minds. The truth is, however, that entrepreneurs  come in all sizes and shapes, and most of your skills you will have to learn along the way. You don’t have dream of leading a big company – but of course you can! For a lot of small scale entrepreneurs it is more than enough to be in charge of their own day. So start something that is managable for you now and see where it takes you.
  • The Overnight Success Myth: Stories like Google and Facebook gives the impression, that entrepreneurship is about overnight success. Within a few years you can become extremely rich. Their stories are famous because they are unusual and because we all dream about easy money. However, successfull entrepreneurs have often been struggling in a business for several years before they finally create a real success. Partly because they have built a customer base and got to know their customers and market and partly because “something happended” and they were there ready to take advantage of it. So start something that can get you in touch with the customers and market you are passionate about and accept that your ultimate idea will maybe come in ten years.

 

In the course related to this website the entrepreneurship concept can embrace all of these definitions – except that it has to be about starting a new organization.

You can work on a highly innovative product or a simple service. You can work on a business with large scale international potential or a small business to make a living for you – or even a part time business. You can make it to earn money or in order to solve a problem in society.

 

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