Entrepreneur vs Intrapreneur: Difference and Comparison

An entrepreneur is an individual who establishes and operates their own business, taking on financial risks in pursuit of profit and innovation. Conversely, an intrapreneur is someone who exhibits entrepreneurial traits within an existing organization, driving creative solutions, and spearheading new initiatives while leveraging the resources and stability of the company. Both play critical roles in driving innovation and growth, with entrepreneurs building from scratch and intrapreneurs navigating within established structures.

Key Takeaways

  1. Entrepreneurs start and manage their businesses, taking on financial risks to pursue profit; intrapreneurs are employees who apply entrepreneurial skills and mindset to drive innovation and growth.
  2. Entrepreneurs operate independently, creating and managing their ventures; intrapreneurs work within existing companies, developing new products, services, or business strategies.
  3. Both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs demonstrate creativity, initiative, and risk tolerance, but entrepreneurs establish and run their businesses, while intrapreneurs contribute to the success and innovation of their employers.

Entrepreneur vs Intrapreneur

The difference between an Entrepreneur and an Intrapreneur is that an Entrepreneur is the founder of an enterprise. He is free and takes most of the risks and rewards involved in the running of an organisation.  An Intrapreneur, on the other hand, is an employee of a particular enterprise and therefore bound by the rules and regulations of that enterprise.

Entrepreneur vs Intrapreneur

An Entrepreneur is an individual who sets up a new enterprise, absorbs the risks involved, and enjoys the rewards earned. He is the mind behind the success or failure of a new enterprise.

On the other hand, an Intrapreneur is a member of the workforce employed in an enterprise. He is vested with the responsibility to bring about innovative ideas to enhance the company’s prospects.


 

Comparison Table

FeatureEntrepreneurIntrapreneur
RoleCreates and operates their own businessWorks within an established organization to drive innovation
MotivationOften driven by independence, passion for a specific idea, and desire for financial gainDriven by innovation, desire to make a difference within the organization, and potential for career advancement
RiskBears all the financial and operational risks associated with the businessRisks are mitigated by the resources and support of the organization
Decision-MakingHas complete control over all business decisionsDecision-making is subject to approval within the organization’s hierarchy
ResourcesRelies on their own resources (funds, network, skills) or seeks external fundingHas access to the organization’s resources but may need to navigate internal approval processes
RewardsPotential for high financial rewards and personal satisfactionPotential for career advancement, recognition within the organization, and contribution to a larger company’s success
ExamplesElon Musk (Tesla), Steve Jobs (Apple), Sara Blakely (Spanx)Marissa Mayer (Yahoo!), Mary Barra (General Motors), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) (while he initially started as an entrepreneur with Amazon, he is often used as an example of an intrapreneur within the company

 

Who is Entrepreneur?

Who is an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs are individuals who identify opportunities, take calculated risks, and create innovative solutions to address market needs. They are dynamic, driven individuals who often venture into the realm of business ownership and innovation. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

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Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs exhibit several key characteristics that distinguish them from others:

  1. Visionary: Entrepreneurs possess a clear vision of what they want to achieve and how they plan to accomplish it. They are forward-thinking and constantly seek opportunities for growth and improvement.
  2. Risk-taker: Successful entrepreneurs are willing to take risks, whether financial, personal, or professional, to pursue their goals. They understand that with risk comes the potential for reward and are not afraid to step outside their comfort zones.
  3. Innovative: Entrepreneurs are inherently creative and innovative. They are always looking for new ways to solve problems, disrupt industries, and meet evolving customer needs. Innovation is at the core of their approach to business.
  4. Resilient: Entrepreneurship is fraught with challenges and setbacks. Entrepreneurs must be resilient in the face of adversity, able to persevere through tough times, learn from failures, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  5. Passionate: Passion is a driving force for entrepreneurs. They are deeply passionate about their ideas, products, or services and are committed to seeing them succeed. This passion fuels their determination and keeps them motivated even when obstacles arise.

Roles and Responsibilities of an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs play several crucial roles in the business world:

  1. Opportunity Seeker: Entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for new opportunities. They scan the market, identify gaps or unmet needs, and capitalize on emerging trends to create value and generate profits.
  2. Leader: Entrepreneurs often assume leadership roles within their organizations, guiding their teams towards shared goals and inspiring them to perform at their best. Effective leadership is essential for driving innovation and achieving success.
  3. Innovator: Innovation is the lifeblood of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are constantly innovating, whether it’s through the development of new products, processes, or business models. Their ability to think outside the box and challenge the status quo drives progress and growth.
  4. Risk Manager: While entrepreneurs embrace risk, they also understand the importance of managing it effectively. They carefully evaluate risks, weigh potential rewards, and implement strategies to mitigate adverse outcomes. Balancing risk and reward is key to sustainable business growth.
entrepreneur
 

Who is Intrapreneur?

Characteristics of an Intrapreneur

Intrapreneurs possess several key characteristics that set them apart within a corporate environment:

  1. Entrepreneurial Spirit: Like entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs are driven by a strong entrepreneurial spirit. They are proactive, resourceful, and constantly seek out opportunities to innovate and improve existing processes or develop new products and services.
  2. Risk-taking: While operating within the framework of a larger organization, intrapreneurs are not afraid to take calculated risks. They are willing to challenge the status quo, experiment with new ideas, and navigate uncertainty to achieve their objectives.
  3. Creativity and Innovation: Intrapreneurs are inherently creative and innovative thinkers. They possess the ability to think outside the box, identify unmet needs, and develop novel solutions that add value to the organization and its stakeholders.
  4. Collaboration and Leadership: Intrapreneurs excel in collaboration and leadership, effectively rallying support from colleagues and stakeholders to bring their ideas to fruition. They possess strong communication skills and the ability to inspire and motivate others to embrace change and pursue common goals.
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Roles and Responsibilities of an Intrapreneur

Intrapreneurs play several crucial roles within an organization:

  1. Idea Generation and Development: Intrapreneurs are responsible for generating innovative ideas that have the potential to drive business growth and enhance competitiveness. They actively seek out opportunities for improvement and develop comprehensive plans to turn their ideas into reality.
  2. Project Management: Intrapreneurs oversee the implementation of new initiatives from conception to execution. They coordinate cross-functional teams, allocate resources effectively, and ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.
  3. Change Agent: Intrapreneurs act as change agents within their organizations, challenging the status quo and driving cultural transformation. They advocate for innovation and continuous improvement, fostering a culture of creativity, risk-taking, and adaptability.
  4. Intrapreneurship Advocacy: Intrapreneurs promote the concept of intrapreneurship within their organizations, educating colleagues and leaders about its benefits and encouraging widespread adoption. They serve as champions of innovation, inspiring others to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset and actively contribute to the organization’s success.
intrapreneur

Main Differences Between Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs

  1. Here are the main differences between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs:
  2. Entrepreneurs:
  3. Typically start their own businesses from scratch.
  4. Take on significant financial risk and responsibility for the success or failure of their ventures.
  5. Have full control over decision-making and direction of their businesses.
  6. Often operate in dynamic, uncertain environments with limited resources.
  7. Focus on building and growing their own ventures independently.
  8. Intrapreneurs:
  9. Work within existing organizations to drive innovation and create value.
  10. Have access to resources, infrastructure, and support provided by the company.
  11. Operate within established frameworks and hierarchies, navigating organizational structures.
  12. Often collaborate with colleagues and teams to implement new ideas and initiatives.
  13. Share in the success of their projects but do not bear the same level of financial risk as entrepreneurs.
Difference Between Entrepreneur and Intrapreneur

References
  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1990-15947-001
  2. https://www.ceeol.com/search/article-detail?id=733299
  3. https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/35826/1/602297869.pdf

Last Updated : 06 March, 2024

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23 thoughts on “Entrepreneur vs Intrapreneur: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article delivers a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the contrast between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs while outlining their individual roles and significance within the business world.

    Reply
  2. Although the article does well to differentiate an entrepreneur from an intrapreneur, it lacks a critical analysis of the key challenges faced by entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in their respective roles. More insight into the practical difficulties would have been beneficial for readers seeking a comprehensive understanding.

    Reply
  3. I found the explanation of the differences between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to be insightful. The article provides a detailed analysis that enables readers to understand the distinguishing factors between the two roles.

    Reply
  4. The article provides a clear distinction between an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur that allows the reader to understand the different roles and responsibilities of both positions within a company.

    Reply
  5. The portrayal of the roles and responsibilities of both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs is comprehensive and well-explained. The article effectively emphasizes their contributions and differentiation within the corporate landscape.

    Reply
  6. The article effectively compares and contrasts the defining characteristics of an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur. It’s highly informative and valuable for individuals seeking to understand the difference between the two roles.

    Reply
  7. The article presents the information in a well-structured manner, making it easy for readers to comprehend the comparison between entrepeneurs and intrapreneurs.

    Reply
  8. Although the distinction between an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur is crucial, perhaps the article could have delved into more practical examples for better comprehension.

    Reply
  9. I appreciate the discussion of both entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial roles in the corporate world. The article provides an in-depth analysis of their contributions and significance within an organization.

    Reply

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