Intrapreneurship Vs Entrepreneurship - What Are The Differences?

Sep 26, 2023 · 7 min read

Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship are two buzzwords that have been used interchangeably, but in reality, they have very distinct differences.

An entrepreneur is someone who creates a new business from scratch, whereas an intrapreneur is an individual who works within an established company and brings innovative ideas to the table.

In this article, we will dive into the differences between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, explore their benefits, and provide some examples of successful entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.

Difference Between Entrepreneur and Intrapreneur

In short, entrepreneurship is the act of creating a new business or enterprise from scratch. It involves identifying a problem or need in the market and coming up with a solution that can be turned into a profitable venture.

On the other hand, intrapreneurship involves the act of bringing innovative ideas to an existing organization. Intrapreneurs work within an established company, and their focus is on creating new products, services or processes that can help the company grow and gain a competitive advantage.

What Is An Intrapreneur - Definition

An intrapreneur is an employee within an established company who takes on the role of an entrepreneur. They are tasked with coming up with new ideas, developing new products or services, and implementing innovative processes within the company. Intrapreneurs work within an existing organization, and their focus is on creating new revenue streams and helping the company stay ahead of its competitors.

The Benefits of Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship can provide several benefits to both the individual and the company. For the individual, it allows them to showcase their entrepreneurial skills within an established company. They have the opportunity to develop new ideas, take risks and innovate without having to worry about starting a new business from scratch. For the company, intrapreneurship can lead to new products, services or processes that can help the company gain a competitive advantage. It can also lead to increased employee engagement and retention, as employees who are given the opportunity to be intrapreneurs are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and remain with the company long-term.

Intrapreneurship Examples

One example of successful intrapreneurship is the creation of the PlayStation gaming console by Ken Kutaragi, who was a Sony employee at the time. Kutaragi came up with the idea for the console and convinced the company to invest in its development. The PlayStation went on to become a hugely successful product for Sony and helped the company diversify its revenue streams.

Another example of intrapreneurship is Google's 20% time policy, which allows employees to spend one day a week working on their own projects. This policy has led to several successful products, including Google News and Gmail, which were developed by employees who were given the freedom to pursue their own innovative ideas.

Inspirational Intrapreneurs

Gifford Pinchot III, the father of intrapreneurship, is an inspirational figure in this field. He coined the term "intrapreneur" and has spent his career advocating for entrepreneurship within established companies. He has written several books on the topic, including "Intrapreneuring: Why You Don't Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur," and has helped companies like IBM and DuPont develop successful intrapreneurship programs.

Another inspirational intrapreneur is Steve Jobs, who started as an employee at Apple before eventually becoming the company's CEO. Jobs was known for his innovative thinking and his ability to take risks and push the boundaries of what was possible within the technology industry.

What Is An Entrepreneur

What Is An Entrepreneur - Definition

An entrepreneur is someone who takes on the risks and responsibilities of starting a new business from scratch. They identify a need in the market, develop a business plan, secure funding, and work to turn their idea into a successful venture.

The Benefits of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship provides individuals with the opportunity to be their own boss and create something from scratch. It allows for complete freedom and control over the direction of the business, and can lead to financial independence and success. Entrepreneurship also provides benefits to the wider economy, including job creation and innovation.

Entrepreneurship Examples

Firstly, there are different types of entreprenurship which exist, from small business' through to large-scale corporations.

One example of successful entrepreneurship is Amazon, which was started by Jeff Bezos in his garage in 1994. Bezos identified the need for an online bookstore and worked tirelessly to turn his idea into a reality. Today, Amazon is one of the largest companies in the world and has revolutionized the way we shop and consume goods.

Another example of successful entrepreneurship is Airbnb, which was started by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia in 2008. They came up with the idea of renting out air mattresses in their apartment to attendees of a design conference in San Francisco. From there, they grew the idea into a platform for renting out spare rooms and eventually whole apartments and houses. Today, Airbnb is valued at over $100 billion and has disrupted the hospitality industry.

Inspirational Entrepreneurs

There are many inspirational entrepreneurs, but one standout figure is Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Musk has started several successful companies, including PayPal, and has a reputation for taking on ambitious projects that push the boundaries of what is possible. He is known for his innovative thinking, his focus on sustainability and his willingness to take on risks.

Another inspirational entrepreneur is Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. Blakely started her company with just $5,000 and went on to create a multi-billion dollar business that has revolutionized the fashion industry. She is known for her determination, her ability to think outside the box, and her commitment to empowering women through her products.


In conclusion, whether you are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship, it is important to understand the key differences between the two. Both paths require different skill sets, mindsets, and levels of risk-taking. Entrepreneurs are typically known for their independence, creativity, and willingness to take risks to build something from the ground up, while intrapreneurs focus on innovating and creating new ideas within an existing organization.

However, regardless of the path you choose, both offer unique benefits and can lead to fulfilling and successful careers. It's essential to evaluate your personal strengths and goals to determine which path is the best fit for you.

At Nexford University, we provide a comprehensive education that prepares students for both entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. Our programs offer courses on innovation, creativity, business administration, and leadership skills to help you succeed in either career path. With our focus on experiential learning, you'll develop the practical skills and knowledge you need to launch your own startup or become an innovative leader within an established company.

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Shared Traits Between Entrepreneur and Intrapreneur

Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs share several key traits, including creativity, risk-taking, and a willingness to innovate. Both types of individuals are passionate about their work and are driven by a desire to succeed. They also possess strong leadership skills and are capable of inspiring and motivating others to achieve their goals.

Difference Between Entrepreneur and Intrapreneur

While entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs share many similarities, there are also several key differences between the two. Entrepreneurs typically work independently and have complete freedom to pursue their vision. They are responsible for developing their business plan and securing funding, and they have full control over the direction of their venture.

Intrapreneurs, on the other hand, work within an existing organization or company. While they are free to develop new ideas and products, they must also work within the established framework of the company. Intrapreneurs must navigate company politics and adhere to corporate policies, which can limit their autonomy and freedom.

Should I Be an Entrepreneur or Intrapreneur?

Deciding whether to pursue a career as an entrepreneur or intrapreneur depends on your goals, personality, and skillset. If you are a self-starter who thrives on independence and risk-taking, then entrepreneurship may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy working within a team and are passionate about developing innovative ideas within an established company, then intrapreneurship may be the better option.

What Steps to Take to Become a Successful Intrapreneur?

If you are interested in pursuing a career as an intrapreneur, there are several steps you can take to increase your chances of success. First, develop your entrepreneurial skills, such as creativity, problem-solving, and innovation. Second, build strong relationships with key stakeholders within your company to gain support for your ideas. Finally, demonstrate your ability to execute on your ideas by successfully launching new products or initiatives.

What Steps to Take to Become a Successful Entrepreneur?

If you are interested in pursuing a career as an entrepreneur, there are several steps you can take to increase your chances of success. First, identify a new idea or opportunity that aligns with your passions and strengths. Second, develop a solid business plan that outlines your vision, goals, and strategies for success. Finally, secure funding and build a team of talented individuals who can help you bring your idea to fruition.

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