Millennials have been deemed a generation of entrepreneurs, with nearly one third of Canadian Millennials indicating they would one day like to start their own business, and over ninety percent saying they value entrepreneurial spirit. However, only about six percent of Millennials are actually starting their own businesses. Instead of becoming entrepreneurs, the vast majority of people remain working for other business owners. And while this may mean that many entrepreneurship-minded employees are not starting their own businesses, it opens up a unique opportunity for their employers.
‘Intrapreneurship’ means thinking and behaving like an entrepreneur while working for an organization. There are three major distinctions that differentiate intrapreneurs from entrepreneurs. The first and most significant is that entrepreneurs typically use their own resources to build a business and create product and service offerings, whereas intrapreneurs use the resources of the company they work for. The second distinction lies in the focus of business efforts: entrepreneurs focus their efforts externally and intrapreneurs focus their efforts on solving problems for their employer. The final distinction is that entrepreneurial activities generally result in the creation of a new organization, whereas intrapreneurs work within existing organizational structures.
So what opportunity does intrapreneurship offer to businesses? Intrapreneurship is a way for businesses to increase the creativity and innovation in their organization by allowing employees to flex their entrepreneurial muscles. For small businesses, intrapreneurship means the potential to generate growth, using a smaller investment and with decreased risk than more traditional methods. Encouraging intrapreneurship in your organization can also drive faster innovation and change, since more people can dedicate their time to solving organizational obstacles.
Allowing for intrapreneurship can also have significant benefits for your staff. Giving employees the freedom to work on the things they want to work on, and the space to explore ideas without concern for the existing hierarchy or strategic goals, is associated with a history of breakthrough products and services within organizations.
Sources:Murley, Sue. (2016). “Millennials and Entrepreneurship”. McGill Reporter. Published on February 9, 2016. http://publications.mcgill.ca/reporter/2016/02/millennials-and-entrepreneurship/Startup Canada. “Motivations, Mindsets, and Experiences of Millennial Entrepreneurs”. http://www.startupcan.ca/millennialsbos/
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