AskDefine | Define entrepreneur

Dictionary Definition

entrepreneur n : someone who organizes a business venture and assumes the risk for it [syn: enterpriser]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (RP) /,ɒntrəprəˈnɜː/


From entrepreneur.


  1. A person who organizes and operates a business venture and assumes much of the associated risk.
  2. A person who organizes a risky activity of any kind and acts substantially in the manner of a business entrepreneur.


person who organizes and operates a business and assumes the associated risk
  • Czech: podnikatel
  • Dutch: ondernemer
  • Estonian: ettevõtja
  • Finnish: yrittäjä
  • German: Unternehmer
  • Hungarian: vállalkozó
  • Polish: przedsiębiorca
  • Slovak: podnikateľ
person who creates one or more new nonprofit organizations
person who is talented or prolific at developing new programs inside existing organizations


entreprendre + -eur


fr-noun m
  1. An entrepreneur

Extensive Definition

An entrepreneur is a person who has possession over a new enterprise or venture and assumes full accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome. The term is a loanword from French and was first defined by the Irish economist Richard Cantillon. A female entrepreneur is sometimes known as an entrepreneuse. However, with the word "entrepreneuse" being the French feminine form of entrepreneur, its usage in English in delineating sexes detracts from the meaning of the word "entrepreneur". Entrepreneur in English is a term applied to the type of personality who is willing to take upon herself or himself a new venture or enterprise and accepts full responsibility for the outcome.
The modern myths about entrepreneurs include the idea that they assume the risks involved to undertake a business venture, but that interpretation now appears to be based on a false translation of Cantillon's and Say's ideas. The research data indicate that successful entrepreneurs are actually risk averse. They are successful because their passion for an outcome leads them to organize available resources in new and more valuable ways. In doing so, they are said to efficiently and effectively use the factors of production. Those factors are now deemed to include at least the following elements: land (natural resources), labour (human input into production using available resources), capital (any type of equipment used in production i.e. machinery), intelligence and knowledge, and creativity. A person who can efficiently manage these factors in pursuit of a real opportunity to add value in the long-run, may expand (future prospects of larger firms and businesses), and become successful.
Entrepreneurship is often difficult and tricky, as many new ventures fail. Entrepreneur is often synonymous with founder. Most commonly, the term entrepreneur applies to someone who creates value by offering a product or service. Entrepreneurs often have strong beliefs about a market opportunity and organize their resources effectively to accomplish an outcome that changes existing interactions.
Some observers see them as being willing to accept a high level of personal, professional or financial risk to pursue that opportunity, but the emerging evidence indicates they are more passionate experts than gamblers.
Business entrepreneurs are viewed as fundamentally important in the capitalistic society. Some distinguish business entrepreneurs as either "political entrepreneurs" or "market entrepreneurs," while social entrepreneurs' principal objectives include the creation of a social and/or environmental benefit.

Definition and terminology

An entrepreneur is someone who attempts to organize resources in new and more valuable ways and accepts full responsibility for the outcome.


The word "entrepreneur" is a loanword from French. In French the verb "entreprendre" means "to undertake", with "entre" coming from the Latin word meaning "between", and "prendre" meaning "to take". In French a person who performs a verb, has the ending of the verb changed to "eur", comparable to the "er" ending in English.
Enterprise is similar to and has roots in, the French word "entrepris", which is the past participle of "entreprendre". Entrepreneuse is simply the French feminine counterpart of "entrepreneur".
According to Miller, it is one who is able to begin, sustain, and when necessary, effectively and efficiently dissolve a business entity.

Entrepreneur as a leader

Scholar Robert. B. Reich considers leadership, management ability, and team-building as essential qualities of an entrepreneur. This concept has its origins in the work of Richard Cantillon in his Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général (1755) and Jean-Baptiste Say (1803) in his Treatise on Political Economy.
A more generally held theory is that entrepreneurs emerge from the population on demand, from the combination of opportunities and people well-positioned to take advantage of them. An entrepreneur may perceive that s/he is among the few to recognize or be able to solve a problem. In this view, one studies on one side the distribution of information available to would-be entrepreneurs (see Austrian School economics) and on the other, how environmental factors (access to capital, competition, etc.) change the rate of a society's production of entrepreneurs.
A prominent theorist of the Austrian School in this regard is Joseph Schumpeter, who saw the entrepreneur as innovators.

See also

; Entrepreneurship education: Master of Enterprise, Junior Enterprise, Young Enterprise, Business and Enterprise College

References and external articles

General information

  • Baumol, W.J., Litan, R.E., Schramm, C.J. (2007). Good capitalism, bad capitalism, and the economics of growth and prosperity. Yale University Press.
  • Binks, M. and Vale, P. (1990). Entrepreneurship and Economic Change. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.
  • Brouwer, M.T. (2002). 'Weber, Schumpeter and Knight on entrepreneurship and economic development'. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, vol. 12(1-2), p. 83.
  • Cantillon, R. (1755). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général
  • Casson, M. (2005). 'Entrepreneurship and the theory of the firm'. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 58 (2) , 327-348
  • Hebert, R.F. and Link, A.N. (1988). The Entrepreneur: Mainstream Views and Radical Critiques. New York: Praeger, 2nd edition.
  • Kirzner, I. (1973). Competition and Entrepreneurship.
  • Knight, F.H. (1921/61). Risk uncertainty and profit. Kelley, 2nd edition.
  • Schumpeter, J.A. (1934). The Theory of Economic Development: An Inquiry into Profits, Capital, Credit, Interest, and the Business Cycle
  • Spengler, J.J. (1954).
  • Schram, Carl (2006). The Entrepreneurial Imperative. Harper Collins

Theories of the firm

  • Bhidé, A. V. (1999). The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses: Oxford University Press.
  • Long, W. (1983). The meaning of entrepreneurship. American Journal of Small Business, 8(2), 47-59. (c971086)
  • Outcalt, Charles, (2000). 'The Notion of Entrepreneurship: Historical and Emerging Issues'. Cellcee digest. Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
  • Reich, R. B. (1987, May/June). Entrepreneurship reconsidered: The team as hero. Harvard Business Review. (c96187)

External links

entrepreneur in Bulgarian: Предприемач
entrepreneur in Danish: Iværksætter
entrepreneur in German: Unternehmer
entrepreneur in Spanish: Emprendedor
entrepreneur in French: Entrepreneur
entrepreneur in Finnish: Yrittäjä
entrepreneur in Croatian: Poduzetnik
entrepreneur in Indonesian: Wirausahawan
entrepreneur in Italian: Imprenditore
entrepreneur in Japanese: 起業家
entrepreneur in Hebrew: יזם
entrepreneur in Latvian: Komersants
entrepreneur in Lithuanian: Verslininkas
entrepreneur in Dutch: Ondernemer
entrepreneur in Norwegian: Gründer
entrepreneur in Polish: Przedsiębiorca
entrepreneur in Russian: Антрепренёр
entrepreneur in Serbian: Предузетник
entrepreneur in Swedish: Entreprenör
entrepreneur in Ukrainian: Інтрепренер
entrepreneur in Chinese: 企业家

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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