The Definition of Intrapreneurship vs Entrepreneurship

Thirty seven years ago, Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson defined Entrepreneurship as “the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” Wikipedia defines Intrapreneurship as “the act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization.”

This leads me to the question: Does this therefore mean that an Intrapreneur is: the pursuit of opportunity with regard to resources currently controlled? On the one hand, this could be viewed as an oversimplification. On the other hand, I feel it’s a good starting point for discussion.

In my experience, successful intrapreneurs figure out how to implement true change while holding in high regard the existing processes they are inevitably disrupting. Things like buy-in, profit margins and efficiency are concerns of the intrapreneur, whereas they are not the foremost concerns for the entrepreneur.

So, how important is the distinction? Can one be both? I think it’s hard to truly good entrepreneur and a good intrapreneur. Yet it is possible to discover which you are. My personal path to intrapreneurship was via an entrepreneurial venture. I ran my own business for two years. It was clear that I was an intrapreneur. Each professional will experience his or her own journey.  What we share is the drive and satisfaction we feel when we realize we have found our true passion.