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Estefania Teixeira
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Entrepreneurship vs Intrapreneurship


Entrepreneurship vs. intrapreneurship is a debate that always rages on in the business landscape, which is completely plausible as people think both are the same. The truth is that both concepts contrast each other, and if you want to harness their power, you must know their differences. 

At the end of the day, anyone capable of differentiating them will seize their powerful forces capable of boosting innovation and economic growth. Today, you'll learn all about entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship and which you must choose depending on your project..

What is Entrepreneurship?

Simply put, entrepreneurship is starting a new business. An entrepreneur can identify a problem or gap in the market and develop a service or product to tackle it. However, entrepreneurship isn't limited to starting a new business from scratch. It also includes research, development, and new products and services creation.

Entrepreneurship is systematic and continuously requires creativity and planning to sort out issues and situations. Actually, one of entrepreneurship's most important features is innovation, which helps companies differentiate themselves in the market by introducing unique products. Further, profitability is key for any entrepreneur as all the decisions must consider potential profit in mind.

Entrepreneurship is an individual trip, so there's no single path to success. Fun fact: In 2020, at least 1 of 278 adults started a business! Nonetheless, most entrepreneurs share many practices, including future thinking, decisive position, punctual and specific thoughts, acceptance of uncertainty and problems, and, most importantly, learning from failure. As an entrepreneur, you must learn more about turning a business idea to make your dream come true. And if you already have a solid startup idea, you can learn more about making a successful Business Strategy.

Types of Entrepreneurship

As there are different types of businesses, there are several types of entrepreneurs. For example, social entrepreneurship is a business structure that aims to create value for all stakeholders, including employees, users, communities, and suppliers. These entrepreneurs seek to develop and implement solutions to community problems related to social, cultural, and environmental challenges. They encourage positive social changes through their innovations and initiatives.

Independent businesses are small enterprises that rely on self-financing, income, or business loans to cover expenses. They offer products or services to established sectors such as personal services, restaurants, and retail. These businesses belong to an individual, family, or many business partners.

Finally, founded businesses are designed for fast growth and often integrate investment by venture capitalists or private firms to help them get there. This type of business can fill a void in the market or seek to enhance a successful product or service to promote it towards the strongest markets. We can highlight software as a service and biotech as examples of founded businesses. Franchise businesses, which take an existing business idea and "franchise" the right to operate a business inside a determined territory, are also worth mentioning.

Pros and Cons of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship offers many advantages but also comes with challenges. As a business owner, you have the complete freedom to set your own schedule, salary, team, and the satisfaction of creating something from scratch. You are also responsible for wearing many hats, covering up-front costs, and making quick decisions, and you may need to seek expert advice.

To be successful as an entrepreneur, it's essential to determine your goals and motivations upfront. Do you want professional freedom, to make a difference in your community, or to generate wealth for your family? Knowing your motivations can help you make a plan to achieve your goals and remain focused during challenging times.

It's important to recognize that entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It requires hard work, dedication, trust on entrepreneurial skills, and a willingness to take risks. However, entrepreneurship can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice for those who are up for the challenge.

What is Intrapreneurship?

Companies must embrace innovation in today's rapidly changing business landscape to stay ahead of the competition. That's where intrapreneurs come in. These individuals work within large organizations but think and act like startup leaders, aiming to impulse innovation within the company, including responsibilities like identifying new business opportunities, idea refinancing, obtaining stakeholder acceptance, and leading and executing new initiatives.

They manage small teams and own product initiatives separate from the main business, aiming to create new business opportunities and promote innovation within the company. Intrapreneurs can help their companies remain agile and adaptable by fostering an entrepreneurial spirit within the business.

Intrapreneur means entrepreneurial spirit within a business. It's a mechanism that allows an employee to act like an entrepreneur. It appeared in "Intraprendeuring: Why You Don't Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur" in 1979, published by Elizabeth and Gilford Pinchot. Later, in 1992, the American Heritage Dictionary acknowledged this term, recognizing its popularity.

Innovation is the magic ingredient for successful intrapreneurs. They are idea sources, always exploring new ways of improvement and change. Good problem solvers and risk-takers, intrapreneurs have an eye for opportunities, are highly collaborative, and make good leaders. To be a successful intrapreneur, you need to adopt a powerful mindset, think of ways to constantly improve, promote and manage a like-minded team, and understand the business side of things.

Pros and Cons of Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship offers several advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, it encourages employee innovation and creativity, leading to the development of new products, services, and processes, enhancing the company's competitiveness and adaptability in a rapidly changing business environment. Additionally, it can improve employee morale and retention, as individuals feel empowered and engaged in their work. Intrapreneurship also provides a platform for employees to learn and grow, acquiring valuable skills and experiences. However, it's not without its drawbacks. The process can be resource-intensive and may divert attention from core business activities. There's also a risk of failure, potentially leading to financial losses and damage to the company's reputation.

Intrapreneurship vs Entrepreneurship

Intrapreneurship Entrepreneurship
Goal Increases the competitive and market sustainability of the company Helps to innovate something new of socioeconomic value
Motives Improve the rewarding capacity of the organization and autonomy Innovation, independence, and financial gain
Risks Faces moderate risks Meets all types of business issues
Decisions Participates in collaborative decisions to execute dreams Integrates independent decisions to reach the entrepreneur's dreams
Focus Technology and market Increasing sales and sustaining competition
Operation Operates from inside the organization Operates from outside the organization

Numerous characteristics can be a difference between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs individuals, such as the ability to lead, adapt, think critically, display emotional intelligence, and possess similar attributes.

There are two paths to choose from - entrepreneur or intrapreneur, and of course, there are key differences between them.

If networking, problem-solving, and enterprise management interest you, being an entrepreneur might be a better fit. Entrepreneurs can create any product or business, but knowledge about the competitive market is essential. On the other hand, if you want to develop new products and ideas while maintaining your current tasks, becoming an intrapreneur may be easier. As an intrapreneur, you can contribute to making your company run more efficiently and succeed, but you won't get complete credit for your ideas. It's possible to transition from an entrepreneur to an intrapreneur and vice versa. So, don't be afraid of changes; choose the career path you feel most attracted to.


The debate between intrapreneurship vs. entrepreneurship reveals two distinct yet valuable approaches to fostering innovative ideas and driving business growth. Entrepreneurs, as independent risk-takers, thrive on autonomy and have the potential for immense rewards, but they also shoulder the full weight of financial and operational responsibilities. Intrapreneurs, on the other hand, operate within the established framework of an organization, leveraging the company resources and support structures to drive innovation from within. It offers a more secure foundation but demands adept navigation of corporate hierarchies. Both paths have their merits, and choosing between them depends on key traits like your risk tolerance, critical thinking, communication skills, career goals, and circumstances.