What is an Entrepreneur?

29 01 2012
English: Harvard Business School

The best answer I found comes from the Harvard Business School professor, Howard Stevenson.

“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” – Stevenson

Back in 1983, Stevenson told entrepreneur and teacher Jon Burgstone, “people tended to define entrepreneurship almost as a personality disorder, a kind of risk addiction. But that didn’t fit the entrepreneurs I knew,” he said. “I never met an entrepreneur who got up in the morning saying ‘Where’s the most risk in today’s economy, and how can I get some? Most entrepreneurs I know are looking to lay risk off—on investors, partners, lenders, and anyone else.” As for personality, he said, “The entrepreneurs I know are all different types. They’re as likely to be wallflowers as to be the wild man of Borneo.”

Stevenson’s definition focus’ on entrepreneurship as a process. “They see an opportunity and don’t feel constrained from pursuing it because they lack resources,” says Stevenson. “They’re used to making do without resources.”

The perception of opportunity in the absence of resources helps explain much of what differentiates entrepreneurial leadership from that of corporate administrators: the emphasis on team rather than hierarchy, fast decisions rather than deliberation, and equity rather than cash compensation. (1)

“Every time you want to make any important decision, there are two possible courses of action. You can look at the array of choices that present themselves, pick the best available option and try to make it fit. Or, you can do what the true entrepreneur does: Figure out the best conceivable option and then make it available.” – Burgstone

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