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What is entrepreneurship? "SUPER - Start-Up Promotion for Entrepreneurial Resilience
SUPER - Start-Up Promotion for Entrepreneurial Resilience

What is entrepreneurship?


TF_13_EN  

 Title
What is entrepreneurship?

 Keywords
definition of entrepreneurship; types of entrepreneurship; start-ups; commercial entrepreneurship; social entrepreneurship; innovation; intrapreneursh

 Author
Aston

 Languages
English

 Objectives/goals
Understand what entrepreneurship is in a narrow & broad sense Identify the many different forms of entrepreneurship Discuss why entrepreneurship matters EU Entrepreneurial Competencies: Self-awareness and self-efficacy


 Description
Entrepreneurial behaviour is at the root of human activity. People鈥檚 ideas and creations provide products, services and solutions that organise human activity and make life easier. The common views of entrepreneurship associate it solely with business creation and profit orientation. Yet, entrepreneurs can be found in public and private sphere. Also, not all of them contribute to the economy and the society equally. This training fiche will help you understand what entrepreneurship is. It will discuss different types of entrepreneurship and explain how entrepreneurship is important for the economy and the society. You will also see how and why you should be entrepreneurial without necessarily opening a new business.

 Contents


 What is entrepreneurship?

Unit 1


  Popular understanding and common misconceptions about entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship has many understandings and they may differ with age, gender and culture. It is commonly equated with self-employment or business creation whereby an individual or a group of individuals establish a new firm. Also, news and official data on entrepreneurship base their stories and claims on the numbers of new enterprises created in the given time period. However, the truth is that not all new businesses are entrepreneurial and not all entrepreneurial endeavours take a form of a new venture.

 

On the other hand, glorified accounts of entrepreneurship by popular media have been numerous. These often portray entrepreneurship as revolutionary and ground breaking giving examples of Richard Branson, Apple, Tesla, Skype, Amazon, eBay, Netflix etc. However, entrepreneurship does not need to take a form of a revolutionary product.

 

Other popular misconceptions include:

  • Entrepreneurship requires large investment
  • Entrepreneurship is good for people who want better work-life balance
  • It is all about money and quick enrichment
  • Entrepreneurship is for younger people
  • It is a niche activity


  What is entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is of interest to many audiences and disciplines such as economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, politicians, governments, media and the society. This is because entrepreneurship creates wealth and development. This wide-ranging relevance poses difficulties in devising a single definition that would fit across all fields and disciplines. The definition adopted by the European Commission takes a broad view of entrepreneurship;

 

“Entrepreneurship is when you act upon opportunities and ideas and transform them into value for others. The value that is created can be financial, cultural, or social.”[1]

 

This definition challenges most of the common misconceptions and explains many disagreements existing within current entrepreneurship discourse. The declaration that it is about creating financial, cultural or social value for others has wide reaching consequences. It does not confine entrepreneurship to profit oriented activity. It is also inclusive of artists and social entrepreneurs and those who are not self-employed. 

 

Other important things to remember about entrepreneurship:

  • Entrepreneurship can involve a new product, service or even a process.
  • It does not need to be business to consumer (B2C) model but may take a form of business to business (B2B), business to government (B2G) etc.
  • It can involve using an already existing idea and improving and modifying it to suit different audience, environment and circumstances. Most ‘new ideas’ have been based on something seen or experienced in the past.
  • It is beneficial to have an expertise in certain field, industry, market as one is better equipped to notice opportunities in these areas and come up with solutions.
  • The initial idea or value proposition may and will change throughout the process. In fact, entrepreneurs whose ideas evolve in the process of establishing and running the business tend to be more successful. For instance, Nokia was in the wood pulp milling business when they started in 1865.
 

[1] Moberg and Stenberg, 2012, p.14



  Types of entrepreneurship

We can distinguish between different types of entrepreneurship based on the motivations behind the activity and the goals of the enterprise. They also contribute to the economy and society in different ways bringing social, cultural or economic value.  

  • Necessity vs opportunity entrepreneurship. Necessity driven entrepreneurs are often ‘pushed’ to opt for this kind of employment because they have no other option. Their chances of securing paid employment may be low therefore they resort to self-employment. They usually engage in low profit, low growth not innovative ventures for instance street vendors, cleaners and other imitative businesses.

On the other hand, opportunity entrepreneurship is driven by a choice to exploit a business opportunity. This kind of entrepreneurship is thought to create value, be more innovative and growth oriented. However, it may be that opportunity and necessity co-exist in the sense that an individual may have no better employment option than self-employment but he will choose venture type that creates most value.

 

  • Commercial entrepreneurship usually has profit maximisation as a main objective. This is generally what people think about when they think of entrepreneurship. This type of entrepreneurship is primarily focused on creating financial wealth, however, it may still contribute to the society by introducing variety, new and valuable goods, services and jobs. Many commercial enterprises revolutionised life, for instance, washing machines, dish washers, telephones and mobile phones, banking, cars and transportation, low-cost airlines etc.

Social entrepreneurship pursues primarily pro-social goals seeking to create “social wealth” and bring value to the society rather than focusing on purely on financial wealth. The aim of social entrepreneurship is to address various social needs that are not currently addressed. Social enterprises exist across the non-profit, business and government sectors. What makes them different from charities is that they aim to support at least some of their activity through generating profits, however, they often also depend on government and public support. Examples of social enterprises include Grameen Bank, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning microfinance organization and community development bank founded in Bangladesh. It makes small loans to the poor without requiring a collateral. Other examples include social investment company Acumen, massive open online course (MOOC) providers such as Edx etc

Commercial and social entrepreneurship have much in common including emphasis on innovation and necessity to bear risks and to invest.

 

  • Intrapreneurship, also known as corporate entrepreneurship or corporate venturing, is an act of pursuing new opportunities or creating economic value through developing a new venture within an existing organisation. It helps to improve performance and revitalise the business. It enables organisations to innovate and develop their business. Intrapreneurship may take different forms, for instance, expansion into new lines of business or innovation in products, services and technologies. This can be done within existing organisation or through new ventures also called spin outs. Sometimes, large companies wishing to expand to new markets or obtain specific knowledge acquire smaller innovative start-ups (a process of corporate venturing). Examples of companies that have actively encouraged and pursued intrapreneurship include Apple and introduction of iPhone while they were in the PC business and later on iPad. Google and introduction of Gmail, 3M and post it notes and Sony’s introduction of Playstation. Many small and medium sized companies rely on intrapreneurship to stay in the business and grow. Strategies that may encourage intrapreneurship include;
    • allocating a proportion of employees’ working time to working on their own ideas,
    • making extra resources available for pursuing new ideas,
    • removing organisational bureaucracy so that new projects are not stifled in the process of passing through managerial layers,
    • providing stimulating environment,
    • training and exposure to new people and ideas,
    • embracing failure,
    • rewarding and celebrating successful ideas.

 

  • Private and public sector entrepreneurship. While private sector entrepreneurship takes place in the private sphere with individuals working for themselves or private companies, public sector entrepreneurship takes place in the public sector organisations. It is a pursuit of innovations that improve efficiency and the quality of public service and generate greater economic prosperity. These may include new and improved services, administrative processes, technologies and strategies. Entrepreneurship within the public sector resembles intrapreneurship in large companies as these kinds of organisations have similar environment and conditions including stable hierarchies, entrenched cultures, formalised processes and procedures. However, entrepreneurs within the public sector face additional constitutional, legal and political constraints. Examples of public sector entrepreneurship is introduction of WIFI service on the buses in Finnish city of Tampere in 2001. Tampere is Finland’s high-tech city with many ICT companies based there. The purpose of the internet bus was to reduce the digital divide in Tampere.

 

  • Academic entrepreneurship is an act of commercialising knowledge and research developed within universities. The university usually owns at least a part of intellectual property of the innovation being commercialised. Academic entrepreneurship may take several forms (Klofsten & Jones-Evans, 2000):
    • Large scale externally funded research projects and contracted research for external organisations, for instance, ANTICORRP project involving 21 institutions in 16 countries funded by the European Comission investigates factors that promote or hinder the development of effective anti-corruption policies. Also, LMU Munich is world’s top university for attracting industry funding for research.
    • Consulting – academics with area expertise providing consulting services to governments and private enterprises individually or through other organisations. For instance, Eurasia Group Consultancy provides consultancy services from economic and political experts from major universities.
    • Academic spin-offs – new firms formed to exploit university-developed innovations. Academic spin offs are usually high-tech companies, for instance, University of Cambridge spin off Plastic Logic manufacturing flexible electronics and Finnish nanotechnology company NanoLab Systems. 
    • Patents and licences – ways to sell university developed knowledge to private companies to be exploited
    • Sales of products developed within the university. First modern version of seat belt was developed at Cornell University
    • Provision of testing and calibration facilities to external individuals and organisations

 

Academic entrepreneurship often occurs within scientific disciplines such as engineering, biomedical sciences, physics, IT etc. as universities often have accumulated knowledge and technology that enable pursuing highly complex research. However, academic entrepreneurship also occurs across all disciplines including social sciences and humanities. For instance, anthropologists at universities work with large companies to understand motivations and behaviours of their customers.

The actors involved in academic enterprises include not only academics and university researchers but also current and former students, private firms and entrepreneurs. Traditionally, academic entrepreneurship was facilitated by university science parks and Technology Transfer Offices but more recently universities are expanding their entrepreneurship facilities to include business incubators, accelerators, networks with industry and alumni etc. (Siegel & Wright 2015). 

 

 

  • Cultural entrepreneurship, also called culturpreneurship or art-entrepreneurship, is about organising resources such as cultural, financial and social capital to pursue opportunities that create something new and valuable in the cultural and creative spheres. The motivations of cultural entrepreneurs usually go beyond economic interest and often create cultural and social value. Examples of cultural entrepreneurship include:
    • Busking Schemes such as London Underground Busking Scheme where musicians perform in designated spots on the underground system. They have a unique audience of 3.5 million commuters a day.
    • DIY music producers who bypass cultural intermediaries such as record labels, audio producers and managers who hold capital to fund, recording, tours and promotion to produce and promote music.
    • Concert series for babies, children and their parents that provide access to classical music, Broadway, West End and film music performed by professional artists in a child friendly and relaxed atmosphere and venues. 


  Why entrepreneurship matters

Entrepreneurship brings multiple benefits by creating value to individuals, societies and to the economy. Here we review more closely how and why entrepreneurship is beneficial.

  • Contribution to the economy (growth, development, employment)

Entrepreneurship is thought to contribute to development and growth through employment creation, innovation and welfare effects. Small and medium enterprises provide more than two thirds of total employment in private sectors across the EU. However, ambitious entrepreneurs who start a venture with a view of growing it contribute to economic growth more. They are more likely to innovate so that their businesses can expand, earn more and create employment. On the other hand, necessity entrepreneurs do not usually contribute as much to the economy as they are usually engaged in subsistence self-employment. 

  • Contribution to the society and culture

Generally, entrepreneurs increase choice and variety by providing a diverse range of goods and services to customers’ needs, tastes, preferences and budgets. Through social and cultural entrepreneurship, specific social and cultural products and services are provided directly. These ventures target unmet needs and provide innovations that improve welfare and well-being, make arts and culture more accessible to masses, revitalise and regenerate cities and neighbourhoods.

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 Related material:
teachingnotesfiche1whatisentrepreneurship.docx
 Training Fiche PPT:
4whatisentrepreneurship.pptx

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