Economics professor Russell Sobel describes entrepreneurs as "agent(s) of change." The entrepreneur finds new and efficient ways to combine resources and generates the most profit possible, according to the Library of Economics and Liberty. An intrapreneur has a similar function; only in a different setting and under different circumstances. The entrepreneur and the intrapreneur have differences, such as the amount of capital they invest, the level of risk they assume and their decision making.
An entrepreneur is a person who starts a business venture. She funds the venture, that is, she invests all of the necessary capital. She also assumes the associated risk and is the primary decision maker. She decides how much of the goods or service will be produced, where it will be produced, how it will be produced and who the target market is. An entrepreneur is a single owner, a partner or the individual who owns the most shares in a corporation, Business Dictionary reports.
Organizations sometimes give creative employees the opportunity to act as entrepreneurs. This is called intrapreneurship, according to U.S. Legal. Let's say a company is launching a new product, such as a new type of cell phone. The company may give a certain employee the authority to decide where the parts for the cell phone are obtained; where the cell phone is manufactured; and who the target market is, i.e., teenagers, young adults or middle-aged adults. Therefore, the employee is acting as an entrepreneur within the organization.
Differences Associated with Capital
An entrepreneur assumes all of the risk as his money is invested into the business venture. The intrapreneur is using the organization's capital to fund his project. This is the major difference. If the business fails, the entrepreneur has lost his own money. If the project fails, intrapreneur has lost the organization's money and potentially, his reputation for making solid decisions and in worst case scenario, his job. The entrepreneur usually assumes more risk than the intrapreneur.
An intrapreneur usually only makes decisions for a specific project or a specific part of an organization. An entrepreneur makes decisions for an entire business. An intrapreneur receives support from top management. An entrepreneur usually does not have top management support. Even if the entrepreneur is a partner, she is still independently responsible for her portion of the business venture. In addition, an intrapreneur is on someone's payroll and an entrepreneur is self-employed.