Table of Contents
The term entrepreneur comes from the French word, entreprendre, created in the Middle Ages, and is translated to literally ‘go between’, referring to those who would facilitate business deals (Hisrich, 1990 in Zhao, 2002). Entrepreneurship, in its traditional form is the practice of starting new organizations, most commonly new businesses (“Entrepreneurship”, 2004). A difficult task that some undertake despite the non-existence of currently controlled resources, or having ever undertaken such a feat in the past.
Entrepreneurship takes a special person, one that is willing to take risks that others normally wouldn’t. It takes a person who has a vision coupled with the motivation to act on that vision. And, lastly it takes a level of determination beyond that which others normally do not have, a determination to keep trying when challenges are inevitably experienced and failure seems to be close at hand.
Many see entrepreneurship as the driving force behind economic growth and development (“Entrepreneurship”, 2004).
Every economist surely must be prepared to concede that entrepreneurs are (even if for reasons not fully specified) of great importance. Certainly, entrepreneurs are often accepted as the critical contributors to economic growth, particularly in the centuries of industrial revolutions (Baumol, 2004, p. 9).
Entrepreneurship, however, is not simply limited to the building of new businesses; entrepreneurship can be experienced in well-established businesses as well. As Joseph Schumpeter noted, the entrepreneur is not someone who only is the organizer of a new firm, but one who is an innovator. Entrepreneurs are always looking to do something that has never been done before (Baumol, 2004). Although many studies regarding entrepreneurship focus on business creation, it may be more generally considered the active pursuit of new and unexploited opportunities (Messeghem, 2003). Managers can use these same entrepreneurial skills to grow their existing business, and become more competitive in the marketplace, expanding and diversifying their business beyond their competitor’s reach, while they take hold of precious market share.