A Definition of Entrepreneurship
The concept of entrepreneurship has a wide range of meanings. On the one extreme an entrepreneur is a person of very high aptitude who pioneers change, possessing characteristics found in only a very small fraction of the population. On the other extreme of definitions, anyone who wants to work for himself or herself is considered to be an entrepreneur.
The word entrepreneur originates from the French word, entreprendre, which means “to undertake.” In a business context, it means to start a business. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary presents the definition of an entrepreneur as one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.
Schumpeter’s View of Entrepreneurship
Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter ‘s definition of entrepreneurship placed an emphasis on innovation, such as:
- new products
- new production methods
- new markets
- new forms of organization
Wealth is created when such innovation results in new demand. From this viewpoint, one can define the function of the entrepreneur as one of combining various input factors in an innovative manner to generate value to the customer with the hope that this value will exceed the cost of the input factors, thus generating superior returns that result in the creation of wealth.
Definitions of an entrepreneur
Stems: from the French word ‘entrependre’ meaning one who undertakes or one
who is a ‘go-between’
1725: Richard Cantillon: An entrepreneur is a person who pays a certain price for a product to resell it at an uncertain price, thereby making decisions about obtaining and using the resources while consequently admitting the risk of enterprise.
1803: J.B. Say: An entrepreneur is an economic agent who unites all means of production- land of one, the labour of another and the capital of yet another and thus produces a product. By selling the product in the market he pays rent of land, wages to labour, interest on capital and what remains is his profit. He shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.
1934: Schumpeter: According to him entrepreneurs are innovators who use a process of shattering the status quo of the existing products and services, to set up new products, new services.
1961: David McClleland: An entrepreneur is a person with a high need for achievement [N-Ach]. He is energetic and a moderate risk taker. 1964: Peter Drucker: An entrepreneur searches for change, responds to it and exploits opportunities. Innovation is a specific tool of an entrepreneur hence an effective entrepreneur converts a source into a resource.
1971: Kilby: Emphasizes the role of an imitator entrepreneur who does not innovate but imitates technologies innovated by others. Are very important in developing economies.
1975: Albert Shapero: Entrepreneurs take initiative, accept risk of failure and have an internal locus of control.
1983: G. Pinchot: Intrapreneur is an entrepreneur within an already established organization.