Intrapreneurship – Part 1

It’s very recurrent relate the activities of Entrepreneurship just for people launching new business, which is often initially a small business (start-ups). The people who create these businesses are often referred to as entrepreneurs.

But in general terms, entrepreneurship is to the creation or extraction of value. With this definition, entrepreneurship is viewed as change, which may include other values than simply economic ones. Then …

What is an Entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is an individual who creates a new business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards. The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator, a source of new ideas, goods, services, and business/or procedures.

The word “entrepreneur” comes from the French verb entreprendre, meaning “to undertake”.

Entrepreneurs play a key role in any economy, using these skills and initiatives necessary to anticipate needs and bring good new ideas to market. Entrepreneurs who prove to be successful in taking on the risks of a company (large, small or startup) are rewarded with profits, recognition, and continued growth opportunities. Those who fail, suffer losses and become less prevalent in the markets or in companies.

In a market full of uncertainty, it’s the entrepreneur who can actually help clear up uncertainty, as he/she makes judgments or assumes the risk.

To the extent that capitalism is a dynamic profit-and-loss system, entrepreneurs drive efficient discovery and consistently reveal knowledge.

Established firms face increased competition and challenges from entrepreneurs, which often spurs them toward research and development efforts as well. In technical economic terms, the entrepreneur disrupts course toward steady-state equilibrium.

So, having in place the above general definitions, are there different types of Entrepreneurship? the answer is yes … you can find in the net several definitions about this. For example, according with Indeed (, they define the following different types:

  1. Small business entrepreneurship
  2. Large company entrepreneurship
  3. Scalable startup entrepreneurship
  4. Social entrepreneurship
  5. Innovative entrepreneurship
  6. Hustler entrepreneurship
  7. Imitator entrepreneurship
  8. Researcher entrepreneurship
  9. Buyer entrepreneurship

In this Part 1, I will be sharing a collage of references used for a research that I led in CEMEX about the Large company entrepreneurship, or Intrapreneurship.

Historically, the term “intrapreneurship”1 refers also to an individualistic perspective where it is the individual employees who are in focus as opposed to the organization or the top-level decision makers.

Most of the time, intrapreneurs do not fit into a specific profile as the “typical” intrapreneur does not exist. The intrapreneur’s principal role is to develop disruptive ways of doing business, launching innovative products and services, and strengthening an innovative environment to stay competitive in the market.

Hence, it can be said that “intrapreneurs” combine entrepreneurial traits, such as being drawn to change and proactively seeking it out, with the ability to work within the structure of their own organization. Intrapreneurs are the human face of Innovation2.

You can find more definitions in the attached references at the of this post.

The Unique Power of Intrapreneurs1

Intrapreneurs possess unique strengths that other – external – individuals (such as entrepreneurs or consultants) typically do not have, or at least not to the same extent.

Having run various intrapreneurship programs. Some of the major aspects in which intrapreneurs distinguish themselves from other employees or externals.


  • know the organization and its ecosystem
  • act as a role model for other employees in the company and encourage behavioral change across the broader organization
  • are a source of motivation, providing a fresh perspective and honest feedback to challenge those around them
  • are loyal employees, who believe in the company and want to drive positive change within the organization
  • spot inefficiencies in the workplace
  • have a high willingness to take risks and introduce unconventional ideas
  • support wider activities run by an innovation program to strengthen the overall innovative environment of the organization

Intrapreneurship Requires a Different Management Approach4

Intrapreneur’s skillset and intrinsic motivations differ strongly from the average employee. SEVEN most important steps that need to be followed in order to create a healthy intrapreneurial environment.

How to Successfully run Intrapreneurship in a Corporation1

What a Venture team conclude that there are 4 elements to have a successful Intrapreneurship program in a Corporation:

  1. You own employees are drivers of innovation and possess unique strengths that externals do not have or at least not to the same extend
  2. A great team of colleagues with the right skills and motivation is one of the most crucial factors in turning ideas into value
  3. Executives need to join the journey alongside intrapreneurs, providing room for interaction of an idea, accepting test, developing a learning mentality as well as accepting failure
  4. Knowing your innovations goal, whether it is incremental or disruptive, is a major factor in setting up the right intrapreneurship program

From the same reference (What a Venture), also describe the Mayor Challenges for Turning Employees into Intrapreneurs. The reason is simple. To become a successful intrapreneur means to overcome a number of critical hurdles. Here are some of the prevailing hurdles identified in the context of running intrapreneurship programs in different organizations:

  1. Resistance to change: Being open for change despite prevailing tendencies toward self-satisfaction and the attachment to the status quo
  2. Risk adversity: Coping with the high inherent risk of failure
  3. Setting priorities: Expectations of the management and colleagues to handle day-to-day business as a priority
  4. Collaboration: Internal competition and the fear that someone else might take your position
  5. Rewards: Lack of adequate incentives to push new ideas
  6. Limited resources: Very limited resources to push new ideas – working time and financial resources
  7. Know-how: Lack of skills and experience on how to turn ideas into customer value
  8. Internal Structure: Overcoming existing internal processes
  9. Endurance: Limited patience in the executive team and the stakeholders in order to develop the idea to its full potential
  10. Interdivisional barriers: Alignment between different departments (goal alignment, resources distribution, etc.)
  11. Joint forces: Finding colleagues to actively collaborate and build functional groups within the organization to work together

What is the difference in between Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs?

The main difference between Entrepreneur and Intrapreneur is that Intrapreneur is an employee, and an Entrepreneur is free and the leader of the operation. Intrapreneurship is the change initiatives taken within a going concern by the people working in that organization.

Finally, in order to conclude this Part 1 of this topic, sharing following references related with the comparisons between Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs.

Examples of comparisons between Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship

Here is an example by Guillem Sanz in his webpage5:


But you can find more in the web, for example an extensive comparison provided by IEDUnote (, where is considering the follow 16 points of difference between Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs.

As I mentioned before, this topic is very extensive, so I will be posting more about this. For example, I’d like to share:

  • Examples of Intrapreneurship programs and companies
  • The Collaboration of Corporate and Entrepreneurs (startups, scaleups) to accelerate innovation: benefits and challenges, risks, etcetera



1 Mag. Patricia Schandlbauer, MSc. and Dr. Stefan Perkmann Berger at What a Venture (

2 Intrapreneur Magazine (

3 INC Magazine (

4 Deloitte Digital (2015) Five Insights into Intrapreneurship: A guide to Accelerating Innovation within Corporations (

5 Now is the time for Intrapreneurs