What is your definition of entrepreneur?

Richard Branson

Founder at Virgin Group

What is your definition of entrepreneur?

October 30, 2012

What is your definition of entrepreneur?

Speaking at an entrepreneur event in Egypt earlier this week with President Carter, he mentioned how President George W Bush had reportedly said "the French don’t have a word for entrepreneur."

A quick Google will tell you that the word entrepreneur is a loanword from the French verb "entreprende", which means "to undertake". That sounds quite fitting, as entrepreneurs are always undertaking new challenges and coming up with new ideas.

Joseph Schumpeter’s definition is pretty good. "Entrepreneurs are innovators who use a process of shattering the status quo of the existing products and services, to set up new products, new services." Peter Drucker was onto something too when he made the following definition in 1964: " An entrepreneur searches for change, responds to it and exploits opportunities. Innovation is a specific tool of an entrepreneur hence an effective entrepreneur converts a source into a resource."

But to me, being an entrepreneur simply means being someone who wants to make a difference to other people’s lives.

When making a start in business with Student Magazine, I didn’t even know what an entrepreneur was. All that interested me was starting a publication to protest against the Vietnam War – and having some fun along the way. If that meant becoming an entrepreneur, then that was fine too.

Over the years the nature of entrepreneurship has changed as new businesses have developed and the world has evolved. New innovative business people will keep coming along and changing the game all over again. Was inspired at a recent B Team gathering of young business leaders who have successfully built businesses that prioritize people, planet and profits. They are well on their way to building and spreading better business practices. Here at Virgin, we intend to keep changing the game for good too.

So – what does being an entrepreneur mean to you? Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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