In this post, you will learn what actually makes an entrepreneur, why this job profile is essential for founding startups, and the advantages and disadvantages of working in a corperation.
When talking about entrepreneurship, we must first reveal an important distinction between the different languages. In English, an entrepreneur is often equated with someone who has founded a company, such as a restaurant or a retail store. In German, however, this is different. This is because not every person who runs a business is an entrepreneur. Rather, the focus here is on the characteristics that such a person brings to the table, which are particularly distinguished by:
- Innovative ideas;
- Courage and willingness to take risks;
- Disruptive thinking;
- Agile way of working.
An entrepreneur usually acts very goal-oriented and does not shy away from uncertainty. Striving for constant self-optimization is also a core characteristic of an entrepreneur. For this reason, the term “startup” is used in conjunction with the word “entrepreneur.” Those who found a classic startup, i.e., invent a small, scalable, and innovative business model, usually live up to the above description.
But can one with the characteristics of an entrepreneur only choose the path of founding a startup? And how does one actually become an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship can be learned (in part)
The qualities of risk-taking and innovative idea development are difficult to learn because they are strongly linked to character, so you first have to ask yourself: Am I the right type of person to become an entrepreneur? If this is the case, you are already halfway there. What is then still missing in most cases is entrepreneurial knowledge – business basics. The good news is that anyone can learn these in an appropriate degree program that teaches the economic fundamentals of entrepreneurship. For example, the Master of Science Management and Engineering in Technology, Innovation, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship offers modules such as “Entrepreneurial Management” and “Entrepreneurial Finance and Venture Capital,” as well as related topics such as “Managing the Innovation Process” or “Startup and Growth Management”. With the combination of basic knowledge and the right attitude, founding your own startup has a good chance of success.
Entrepreneurs as Intrapreneurs in corporations
But what if the brilliant idea for a startup or the necessary financial resources are not there? Then, entrepreneurs still have great career opportunities – for example, in technology corporations where they are often referred to as intrapreneurs. Are you wondering how this fits together? It’s simple: large industrial and commercial companies that drive technological innovations need precisely the qualities entrepreneurs can bring to the table.
Because while companies and corporations can benefit from good ressources and processes, they often lack the “breath of fresh air” in thinking and innovating. That’s why, for some years now, you’ll find so-called “incubators” in many corporations – colorful, modern, and creative places where new ideas are supposed to emerge. A common practice is creating startups within one’s own company to develop new business ideas and then implement them into their own products to gain a competitive advantage.
The most common job profiles for people with an entrepreneurial mindset in corporations are, therefore and probably, intrapreneur and innovation manager. However, product and business development managers also frequently work at the interface between proven products and new ideas.
Advantages and disadvantages of working as an entrepreneur in a corporation
If you are bubbling over with ideas and want to develop your own business models in order to actively shape the future of the economy or even society, you should be aware of a few advantages and disadvantages of working in a large corporation:
- Financial security through employment;
- Greater financial resources to develop new ideas;
- Access to years of know-how;
- Working with experts in many fields.
- Own ideas are the property of the group;
- Successful developments flow into the company’s success, not necessarily your personal success;
- Old traditions or ways of thinking can slow down agile processes.
If the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for you, you should think about a corresponding degree to expand your knowledge in the field of entrepreneurship but also general management and related, important topics such as marketing and technology. Such a degree, in combination with your entrepreneurial mind, will make you a popular candidate on the job market.