Entrepreneurship or Intrapreneurship – where do I go after graduation

Forbes released a post titled: Social Entrepreneurs Innovate Solutions To Big Problems today that got me thinking…so Entrepreneurship or Intrapreneurship…

Most people have heard of the concept of Entrepreneurship, which is the process of identifying and starting a business venture, sourcing and organizing the required resource and taking both the risks and rewards associated with the venture. Or in basic terms, opening up one’s own business balancing risk and reward. The term was first used in 1723 by Economist Robert Reich who described individuals with team-building, leadership and management ability to have the essential qualities to become entrepreneurs. The popularity of Entrepreneurship grew in the 20th century with a growth in self-starting businesses as well as trade associations and conferences including the annual “Global Entrepreneurship Week”.

So what about the concept of Intrapreneurship? The idea of Intrapreneurship is similar to that of Entrepreneurship except that Intrapreneurship is being an entrepreneur while within an organization. The term first appeared in 1978 in a paper by Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot and has within the past years became more and more popular. Examples of Intrapreneurship include 3M, Intel, Google, and Lockheed Martin.

So both concepts have success cases and failure cases, but what about using the two concepts in sustainability? As I start my job search in preparation for my upcoming graduation, I have struggled with the two concepts. In class, I have learned that with my degree, I am set to work within a large corporation’s sustainability program. I have also learned that sustainability need innovation and that entrepreneurs are the leaders in innovation for sustainability.

I have had the pleasure of attending many talks and conferences and have interviewed and network with many professionals, I have a decision to make whether to go with Intrapreneurship or Entrepreneurship. Personally I believe that intrapreneurship will allow me to better demonstrate my abilities. Although I have some economic and finance background, I believe that to be an entrepreneur require much much more than that.


About t5huang

Masters in Environmental Science at UPenn Candidate
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