What exactly is an entrepreneur?
February 17, 2014 Editor 0
Entrepreneurs are everybody’s favourite heroes. Politicians want to clone them. Popular television programmes such as “The Apprentice” and “Dragons’ Den” lionise them. School textbooks praise them. When the author of this blog was at Oxford “entrepreneur” was a dirty word. Today the Entrepreneur’s Society is one of the university’s most popular social clubs.
But what exactly is an entrepreneur? Here the warm glow of enthusiasm dissolves into intellectual confusion. There are two distinctive views. The first is the popular view: that entrepreneurs are people who run their own companies, the self-employed or small-business people. The second is Joseph Schumpeter’s view that entrepreneurs are innovators: people who come up with ideas and embody those ideas in high-growth companies.
Schumpeterians distinguish between “replicative” entrepreneurs (who set up small businesses much like other small businesses) and “innovative” entrepreneurs (who upset and disorganise the existing way of doing things). They also distinguish between “small businesses” and “high-growth businesses” (most small businesses…Continue reading
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