Entrepreneur Meaning

So what is the entrepreneur meaning and where did this term originate?

Basically an entrepreneur is a person who owns or manages a business-related enterprise and is prepared to use his or her own initiative, and not be afraid of taking on the risks involved with the venture, in order to make money for the company/business and to move things forward.

A simpler definition is that of a person who is prepared to organize a business venture and to take on all of the risks associated with running it.

Although the word derives from France the meaning in the English language has changed quite a lot to how it was originally used in the 19th century. The word entrepreneur was first used by the French economist Jean-Baptiste Say and was used for the description of a person who undertakes an enterprise and is able to act as an intermediately between the forces of capital and labor.

Over the years, and especially through its use in English, the meaning of entrepreneur has changed and is usually associated with a person who launches new business enterprises and has complete control and responsibility for the company.

Entrepreneur Meaning

Entrepreneur Meaning Success by World Economic Forum  | Creative commons

Entrepreneur Traits

There are many qualities associated with successful entrepreneurs perhaps the key one is that of leadership. Many of the key traits associated with leadership involve the ability to be able to identify staff who will be able to try the company forward and share the same vision for the company that the leader does themselves.

Of course being a leader involves having many characteristics, and a lot of successful entrepreneur tend to have many similar traits. Some of the characteristics include the ability to be innovative and come up with new ideas for services and products (or to adapt current thinking of existing services and products), be prepared to introduce new and untested technologies, be prepared to take risks, and being able to identify how to increase the productivity and efficiency of processors.

What Is Entrepreneurship?

Now that you know what an entrepreneur is it is very simple to answer the question of what is entrepreneurship. This term is used to define the act of being an entrepreneur and is used to describe somebody who is prepared to take innovative steps in order to create a business or to move an existing one forward. Perhaps the commonest form of entrepreneurship is that of creating a new start-up business.

Of course being a successful entrepreneur involves much more than starting up a new business; after all many people have tried to do this and have failed miserably. That’s not to say that the person who has failed that business is not an entrepreneur as by starting their own business they have shown initiation and the preparation to take on risk; two of the biggest traits of successful entrepreneur’s.

One of the key aspects of entrepreneurship is that of innovation and it is often the case that people who are successful with their business ventures have been prepared to create new products or to use new production methods. Another aspect of course is the expansion of existing products into new markets. It is therefore possible that somebody may see an opportunity to sell something that is successful in one country in a new country that does not have a similar product yet.

Successful Entrepreneurs

There are many successful entrepreneur’s and due to the prevalence of the business world into the mainstream media many of these have become household names. For example most people are able to list the richest people on earth off the top of their heads. Although some of these inherited their money the vast majority of them made money through entrepreneurship. Some of the main examples of successful and renowned business leaders include the Virgin empire leader Richard Branson; the Microsoft chairman Bill Gates; Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg; Google’s Larry Page; Metro AG owner Otto Beisheim; and Ikea’s Ingvar Feodor Kamprad.

Richard Branson

Virgin Media Mogul Richard Branson

Of course being an entrepreneur is not a modern trait and over the years there have been many world renowned business leaders. Some of these include the great British industrialists such as James Watt and Samuel Crompton. Some of the more notable 19th century business leaders include JP Morgan, Leland Stamford, Andrew Carnegie, and JD Rockefeller. The previous century has also had many successful business leaders who are household names; perhaps the biggest recent example of this is Steve Jobs the person behind Apple computers and Pixar animation Studios. And of course you cannot have a discussion of this subject without mentioning one of the most famous entrepreneurs’ of them all, Henry Ford the creator of mass production.

Entrepreneur Courses

There are many courses that are aimed towards business and the production of successful managers, perhaps the most well-known one is the MBA (Masters of business Administration), this is a graduate degree that usually takes two years to complete and is aimed at people who want to fast-track their careers and become successful business people. A drawback of these courses is that not only are they very expensive, but that they are also geared at creating middle management and people who have specific career goals. This means that many people who have the traits associated with being an entrepreneur are not likely to be attracted to these courses in the first place as a business school is not the place to go to learn how to run your own company but is more geared towards people who are averse to risk.

That said there are many entrepreneur courses that are offered by universities that are geared towards people who are interested in running their own businesses. Some of the more noticeable ones include the Founders’ Dilemmas course at Harvard and the entrepreneurship class at Stanford.

Harvard Business School

The Harvard Business School is a great place to learn about entrepreneurship

Wrapping things up

I hope that you have found this information on entrepreneur meaning to be useful to you and I hope that you have a better understanding of how the term came about and what it means to be an entrepreneur.


The photographs are used in this site under the creative commons licence. Pictures by D@LY3D and David Jones.

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