Tuesday, January 18, 2022

#my2Cents: Understanding Entrepreneurs vs Intrapreneurs


I was once in Uganda at the University of Kisubi for an Entrepreneurship Summit. It was interesting to listen to and engage with different people with different business perspectives across the border. Then this lady was handed over the mic to share her take-aways from the conference. She mentioned how she’d been studying at Makerere University while rearing chicken to raise fees. I admired her. Until she went on further and started denouncing those studying Education or B.A terming them as useless courses. I almost went blind with rage.

The basis of this anecdote is to put across how much our generation has glamorized being in business. If you’re one of those people with this poor mentality I hope this article enlightens you to say the least.


According to Investopedia, an entrepreneur  is an individual who, rather than working as an employee, founds and runs a small business, assuming all the risks and rewards of the venture. The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator, a source of new ideas, goods, services and business/or procedures.Unlike a typical business person that replicates successful business models they try to improve or solve problems in the society proactively.

An intrapreneur is an inside entrepreneur, or an entrepreneur within a large firm, who uses entrepreneurial skills without incurring the risks associated with those activities. Intrapreneurs are usually employees within a company who are assigned to work on a special idea or project, and they are instructed to develop the project like an entrepreneur would. Intrapreneurs usually have the resources and capabilities of the firm at their disposal.


It’s important to point out the two individuals are quite similar. Both are innovative and ready to disrupt the status quo. Both are quite passionate and can work in plural fields and cause repeat success.

Forefront as background

Entrepreneurs are always the face of their business or as today’s generation terms it are their own bosses. In the beginning they are the CEO/ spokesperson of their enterprise. In that how they carry themselves reflects heavily the values of the company. However, intrapreneurs rarely enjoy the limelight. For them their adrenaline come from applaud of their innovative works which you’ll see through this comparison causes a symbiotic relationship.

Visionary vs practical

Entrepreneurs tend to be visionaries, they may plan with almost zero in the account. Their plans are always big and drastic and sometimes impractical. This is where the intrapreneur thrives by grounding the entrepreneur into reality and granting options that could grant an equally grand impact without necessarily falling into an abyss of debt.

Destination vs Route

This is basically an echo of the above point. Entrepreneurs keep their eyes on the prize while intrapreneur ensure there’s harmony in the details. Furthermore, the entrepreneur is always looking for ways to differentiate the product/service from others in the market but it’s the intrapreneur that develops a strategy that will implement the changes over a period of time.

Charisma vs Work Ethic

As mentioned both are very passionate but exude this passion differently. Entrepreneurs share their vision and inspire employees, consumers and partners alike to the promised land. They inspire action to even a global scale. Intrapreneurs illustrate passion through work ethic. They ensure a high standard is met and maintained by those around them.

Empires vs consultancies

Entrepreneurs may succeed in their ventures and replicate their success into other fields not necessarily similar to what they started with. I mean look at Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg who’s taking over the internet one app at a time. Intrapreneurs however, polish up their skills to be the best there is in the industry. This allows them to build consultancies either in  legal, marketing or PR fields. Moreover, this approach allows them to expand their pluralism.

Here’s an excerpt from Simon Sinek’s “Start with why

Bill Gates, for example, may have been the visionary who imagined a world with a PC on every desk, but Paul Allen built the company. Herb Kelleher was able to personify and preach the cause of freedom, but it was Rollin King who came up with the idea for Southwest Airlines. Steve Jobs is the rebel’s evangelist, but Steve Wozniak is the engineer who made the Apple work. Jobs had the vision, Woz had the goods. It is the partnership of a vision of the future and the talent to get it done that makes an organization great.”

The visionaries whys need the practical individuals hows, it’s a world of balance. Entrepreneurship isn’t about escaping 9-5 jobs, it’s about creating more opportunities for people who believe in your cause. Intrapreneurs don’t need us entrepreneurs; we need them more.

So the next time you look down on someone for their 9 – 5pm job, especially teachers, remember you wouldn’t be where you were without one. Or a historian who wrote the book you read, or a lab analyst that came up with the exam practical.

Till next time!



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