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WHO IS AN ENTREPRENEUR? ; A Definitive Approach

An entrepreneur acts as a coordinating agent in our modern economy. Not sure of what that means?

Last week, while I was discussing with one of the founding member of ESY Media, he made a quite interesting statement when we talked about convening entrepreneurs. He emphatically asked me “Princewill, who is an entrepreneur.” This question has made me have a rethink of my perceptive about the subject matter.

Today, I will be examining the term entrepreneur from a very broad view. It may however, look more academic.

First, let’s explore the origin of the word, “entrepreneur.”

Origin Of Entrepreneur

The word "Entrepreneur" is derived from the French verb 'entrepredre'. It means 'to undertake'. In the early 16th century the Frenchmen who organized and led military expeditions were referred to as 'Entrepreneurs'. In the early 18th century French economist Richard Cantillon used the term entrepreneur to business.

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But it wasn't until the middle of the 20th century that economists seriously attempted to incorporate entrepreneurship into their models.

According to Investopedia, three thinkers were fundamental to the inclusion of entrepreneurs: Joseph Schumpeter, Frank Knight, and Israel Kirzner.

Who Is An Entrepreneur

Since that time the word entrepreneur was used in business by Richard Cantillon till date, the term has being associate with one who takes the risk of starting a new organization or introducing a new idea, product or service to society.

an entrepreneur
who is an entrepreneur

However, economists are yet to come up with a definite definition. The word entrepreneur is multifaceted. Therefore, we will be exploring some definitions from renowned authorities in the academic field of entrepreneurship.

Before I proceed, let me quickly say that an entrepreneur act as a coordinating agent in our modern economy. Not sure of what that means? Well, it simply means that it harnesses other resources towards a profitable opportunity.

Now, here is the various definition of an entrepreneur.

According to Joseph Schumpeter, An entrepreneur in an advanced economy is an individual who introduces something new in the economy, a method of production not yet tested by experience in the branch of manufacturing concerned, a product with which consumers are not yet familiar, a new source of raw material or of new market and the likes.

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To Cantillon, entrepreneur are the agent who buys factors of production at certain prices in order to combine them into a product with a view to selling it at uncertain prices in future. He / she is the person who bears risk, unites various factors of production; to exploit the perceived opportunities in order to evoke demand, create wealth and employment.

Frank Knight focused on entrepreneurs as the bearers of uncertainty and believed they were responsible for risk premiums in financial markets. 

On the other hand, Kirzner thought of entrepreneurship as a process that led to the discovery. Therefore, a discoverer of new economic opportunity is an entrepreneur (my view).

Also, from the famous book, Lean Startup, an entrepreneur is “Anyone who is creating a new product or business under conditions of extreme uncertainty whether he or she knows it or not.”

Other Meaning Of An Entrepreneur

Reiss (2010), views the entrepreneur as the person that recognizes and pursues opportunities without regard to the resources he/she is currently controlling, with confidence that he/she can succeed, with the flexibility to change course as necessary, and with the will to rebound from setbacks.

Envick and Langford (2000) define an entrepreneur as someone who owns and operates his/her own business.

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Bagby (1998) sees entrepreneur as a person that utilizes the opportunity of instability, turbulence, lack to produce something new or modifies an existing one for profit motive.

Given the above wide range of factors and behaviour which are used to define the concept ‘entrepreneur’, we can see the difficulty and impossibility of finding a unified definition of the ‘entrepreneur’. Hence, to Di-Masi (2010), the concept ‘entrepreneur’ can be best used in the past tense to describe a successful business person.

Thus, Entrepreneurs are business persons who identify the existence of business opportunities and based on this they create businesses thereby creating new products, new production methods, new markets and new forms of organization to satisfy human needs and wants mostly at a profit.

It should also be noted that though most entrepreneurial businesses start small, entrepreneurs are not only small business owners; they can also be big business owners. This is because successful entrepreneurs, unlike small business owners, are innovative and, when operating in an enabling business environment, can rapidly create a large amount of wealth while bearing very high risk. In fact, innovation is considered to be the strategic tool of entrepreneurs; this is one of the tools that enable them gain strategic advantage over competitors.

Uchegbu Ifechukwu Princewill

Uchegbu Ifechukwu Princewill

I am an avid reader with the notion that every knowledge acquired is essential to human existence. I'm a budding writer, passionate about research to the extend that if I am not surfing the internet, I would be doing something else to gather more information.

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