What is intrapreneurship?

Abintegro: Career Management & Transition

If you’re not yet familiar with the term “intrapreneurship” chances are you soon will be.

Put simply, intrapreneurship (or corporate entrepreneurship, as it is sometimes known) is about people applying the principles and values of being an entrepreneur to a salaried role. The “intra” part? Well, that refers to them applying their talents within an organisation as opposed to their own personal venture.

Like their close cousins entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs are creative thinkers who are able to identify new growth opportunities and gaps in the market, and to develop ideas around them. Driven by an inner confidence, they aren’t afraid to take calculated risk or to change course when the situation demands it – or to take responsibility for subsequent mistakes or failures.

Besides these intrinsic entrepreneurial qualities, perhaps what sets intrapreneurs apart from other employees is their high level of commercial awareness. These are big picture thinkers who understand the priorities and concerns of their organisation and know how to drive it forwards.

They make the aims of the company and its success their number one priority, putting these above any personal short-term gains. High salaries and opportunity for personal advancement tend to seek them out, rather than the reverse.

Their unique skillset, coupled with a high level of integrity and their dedication to their organisation, puts them in high demand amongst employers, and not just start-ups and early-stage companies. Many larger companies are adopting an intrapreneurial culture; well-known advocates include Google, General Electric, Xerox and Intel, to name but a few.

These employers know that having entrepreneurial minds about the place will help their business to remain innovative and agile and to adapt to industry changes and development. As the demand for intrapreneurs grows, it’s little coincidence that Business and MBA programmes are rapidly adding modules on entrepreneurship and innovation to their curricula.

With globalisation and advances in technology unlocking new opportunities for today’s organisations, intrapreneurs are likely to play an increasingly important role in the corporate world over the years to come. Whether you’re an employer, a hardened professional or a green-round-the-gills job seeker, it’s worth being aware of the growing culture of intrapreneurship and what this means for you and your organisation.

 

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