Distinguishing Between an Entrepreneur and an Entrepreneurial Person

On this page, we distinguish the difference between an entrepreneur and an entrepreneurial person.

The terms “entrepreneur” and “entrepreneurial person” are often used interchangeably, but they signify two distinct concepts. While both possess a certain drive for innovation, risk-taking, and business growth, their motivations, roles, and impacts can differ significantly. Understanding these nuances is important for both academics and practitioners in the field of business and innovation. This article aims to clarify these terms by highlighting their key differences.

Distinguishing Between an Entrepreneur and an Entrepreneurial Person

An entrepreneur and an entrepreneurial person both share characteristics like innovation, risk-taking, and a drive to create value, but they differ in key ways. An entrepreneur is an individual who starts and runs a business, taking on significant risks and responsibilities in pursuit of profit and scale. They own their ventures and assume all associated risks and rewards. On the other hand, an entrepreneurial person embodies the entrepreneurial spirit but may not necessarily own a business. They may operate within a larger organization as an intrapreneur, or simply apply entrepreneurial thinking in their daily life, often without the financial risks associated with owning a venture. In essence, while entrepreneurs are committed to building a business, entrepreneurial individuals are characterized by their mindset and approach to problem-solving, regardless of their professional status.

Entrepreneurial Person: Definition and Characteristics


An entrepreneur is an individual who identifies a gap in the market or a business opportunity and takes calculated risks to fill that gap. They invest resources, be it time, money, or skills, into creating and running a venture, often from the ground up.


  • Risk-taking: Willing to put significant resources at stake.
  • Innovation: Always looking for ways to improve or create new products or services.
  • Vision: Has a long-term plan and the grit to see it through.
  • Resource Allocation: Efficiently utilizes human, financial, and other resources.
  • Leadership: Guides a team towards achieving business goals.

Entrepreneurial Person: Definition and Characteristics


An entrepreneurial person may not necessarily own a business but embodies the entrepreneurial spirit — innovative, risk-taking, and proactive. This person can exist within a larger organization, serving as an intrapreneur, or can simply be an individual who applies entrepreneurial thinking in daily life.


  • Innovation: Consistently thinks outside the box.
  • Calculated Risk-Taking: Willing to take risks but within the confines of an existing structure (like a corporation).
  • Proactivity: Takes the initiative to improve processes or create value.
  • Resourcefulness: Can make do with limited resources.
  • Opportunistic: Always on the lookout for ways to optimize outcomes, be they in business, personal growth, or social contribution.

Key Differences

Risk and Ownership

Entrepreneurs own their ventures and assume all associated risks and rewards. An entrepreneurial person, on the other hand, may take risks but usually within the safety net of a larger organization or system.

Scale and Impact

Entrepreneurs often aim for scale, growth, and a significant market impact. An entrepreneurial person may be content with creating value on a smaller scale, perhaps within their community or organization.


While both are driven by the need to create value, entrepreneurs are often motivated by the prospect of profit, scalability, and building a legacy. Entrepreneurial individuals may be driven by the desire to solve problems, improve systems, or make a social impact.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Entrepreneurial persons often have the luxury to be more adaptable and flexible as they do not have the burden of running an entire business. Entrepreneurs, although adaptable, have to consider a broader range of factors and stakeholders when making changes.


Although the terms are closely related, an entrepreneur and an entrepreneurial person have distinct roles, ambitions, and impacts. Entrepreneurs are individuals who start and run businesses, often fueled by a desire for profit and scale. Entrepreneurial persons, however, may not own a business but possess a mindset characterized by innovation, resourcefulness, and a drive to create value. Recognizing these differences is crucial for understanding the dynamics of innovation, risk-taking, and value creation in various contexts.

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