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Entrepreneurship is an extremely popular topic, with courses taught at universities, and as of 2016, the entrepreneurship activity is at higher levels since before the Great Recession. What’s more, business survival rates reached a three-decade high of 48.7 percent, meaning that nearly half of new businesses are making it to their fifth year in business.

The extreme influx of new businesses and entrepreneurs has brought more attention to the small business sphere. As more and more research was done, new terms came to light, such as “intrapreneur,” coined by management consultants, Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot, in their book Intrapreneuring: Why You Don’t Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur.  

As the title infers, intrapreneurship is like entrepreneurship with one key difference: their work setting. While an entrepreneur is someone who establishes the business, is the core of the company, and holds the highest authority, an intrapreneur exists within large organizations using entrepreneurial skills to bring innovation and growth without incurring the associated risks.

Outside of that one difference, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship have many similarities. Both require an ability to lead. Whether you are working in an established company or building your own, you can’t be successful if you can’t get people on board to achieve the desired goal. Adaptability is also a required skill. As new obstacles arise, both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs must be able to shift direction or find a solution quickly. Another shared trait is intelligence and vision. Vision helps the intrapreneur and entrepreneur realize the next step for the company, while intelligence allows them to tackle it in the most efficient way possible.

Similarities and differences combined, there are specific ways in which the differences could make one more advantageous than the other. For example, entrepreneurship offers more freedom to determine the work schedule, work culture, dress codes, and most importantly, key business decisions. Entrepreneurs also gain more upon success. Intrapreneurs, on the other hand, take on less risk, even though they don’t gain as much. They also have the resources of an existing framework, which alleviates the need to hire employees and acquire funds.

The choice of entrepreneur and intrapreneur depends mostly on the goals and the resources of the individual. For those interested in entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship could be a first step to understanding the lifestyle without taking on the risks.