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What is an entrepreneur? Becoming an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is a tricky concept to define. Many people use the word yet have different interpretations of it. Even within the field of entrepreneurship research, academics do not have an agreed definition of entrepreneur or entrepreneurship.  

The Cambridge dictionary defines entrepreneurship as a skill in spotting opportunities to start a new business, whereas an entrepreneur, according to BBC Bitesize, is someone who starts their own business to make a profit, make a difference or achieve both. As entrepreneurs are opportunists, it's common for them to own businesses across several different industries and trades, noticing a gap in any market, not just one specifically. 

Regardless of the various definitions, it's evident that the skills entrepreneurs typically possess are the same. You do not need to have your own business to use such skills though. If you exhibit the same characteristics within your role at a company you could be an ‘intrapreneur’ which is when people act like an entrepreneur and demonstrate these qualities within an organisation.   

There are also several strands to being an entrepreneur, depending on the sector and type of work you are involved with. An increasingly popular type is social entrepreneurship. 

Social entrepreneurship

A social entrepreneur usually wants to change society for the better. They may recognise a social problem and aim to achieve that social change by employing entrepreneurial principles, processes, and operations.   

Social entrepreneurs may action these changes through a social enterprise. A social enterprise is still a business, and, like any other business, they aim to make a profit. However, it's what they do with that profit that makes them different to other businesses. They reinvest or donate this to create positive social change.    

Social Shifters, provided by OpportunityHub, is a package of specialist digital learning resources available to support you if you're considering the creation of a social or environmental project, launching a campaign, or driving sustainable change by starting a social business.  

Difference between being an entrepreneur and being self-employed  

Working for yourself shows enterprising tendencies, but it does not always embrace the entire entrepreneur experience. An accountant, software engineer or childminder can be self-employed, but they are usually doing much the same work as a fellow professional who works as an employee and may not always invest their own money into growing their business. An entrepreneur may start out with their own small business, and would be highly inspired to expand, franchise their brand or sell on the business to gain investment capital for other ventures. 

Last updated 5 months ago