Wikipedia says an Intrapreneur ‘uses entrepreneurial skills such as innovation, persistence, and risk taking while working as an employee of a large company. For example, a company searches for a new leader with entrepreneurial skills to bring major changes to an underperforming division.”

Imagine an employee who comes up with innovative ideas for the company and then uses the resources and assistance of the company to bring the ideas to fruition, all for the benefit for the company?

3M is a perfect example of a company who took the efforts of an employee who had a brilliant idea and let him run with it- the guy? – the inventor of Post-it-Notes!

Do intrapreneurs make good entrepreneurs? What a dilemma! Some people are just plainly long term employees who like the stability of the job, the resources available to them and the company mindset that allows these extraordinary people to work within a corporate structure while maintaining independence. So the answer to that is no, they make terrible entrepreneurs.

On the other hand… a risk taking employee given the impetus to take a higher degree of risk may jump the line from dedicated intrapreneurs to entrepreneur and successfully run their own business. Ah the fine line between an exceptional employee and a great business owner.

I work with ‘real’ entrepreneurs each and every day. I always look at them and ask myself their chances of success. Boy, it’s a crap shoot these days so a failed entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily make them failures. I think an entrepreneur enjoys the thrill of the chase and this fits both intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs.

I’m often told that a lot of businesses prefer a new employee who has been an entrepreneur in their life over a regular employee who comes from a strictly employee background. The theory is that the entrepreneur has the sensitivities of being a business owner and understand what goes into business ownership.

Phew, life is so complicated!

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  1. Thanks for the insightful article demonstrating how anyone can leverage entrepreneurial skills in their vocation/workplace. Some intrapreneurs don’t recognize the many opportunities available to them in the workplace to leverage their entrepreneurial ‘tendencies’/capabilities, so this is certainly encouraging–particularly for budding entrepreneurs out there who want to enhance their soft skills to better prepare them for their next step down the road. Great post! 🙂

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