Module 1: Entrepreneurship
Section 1: Entrepreneurship
The economy is continuing to diversify as a result of the information age and new technologies. Challenging career
tracks in traditional large corporations and public-sector agencies are becoming less realistic and secure because of
downsizing. Furthermore, many individuals are demanding more immediate and tangible recognition of their
capabilities and achievements, which are not always available or equitably provided in a bureaucratic corporate
environment. As a result, the opportunity to create, acquire, or manage a business enterprise is becoming all the
more significant. To cite a few statistics:
Over 20 million small non-farm businesses now exist in the United States, and the number is continuing to
In 1994 alone, over 700,000 corporations were formed, and small businesses have been increasing at a rate
of over 6 percent per year.
Small businesses now account for 50 percent of the gross domestic product, and provide over 60 percent of
American jobs (Sanow and Perone 1995, ix).
In sum, significant market forces are emerging domestically and internationally, which will place greater emphasis
on self-reliance, creativity, and innovation. Job security may become a thing of the past. No longer will an employee
be assured of a biweekly paycheck for performing adequately and following the rules. Employees will have to
provide consistent, value-added services and maintain a competitive advantage to keep their jobs. As Vince
Lombardi said over 30 years ago to his Green Bay Packers, "If I can replace you, I will!"
As we enter the 21st century, successful professionals and skilled workers will have an entrepreneurial outlook and
skills base. Whether performing entrepreneurially within a corporate environment (that is, intrapreneurship);
working with various entities as opportunities arise (that is, the "virtual" employee); or, as will be the focus of this
course, starting, acquiring, or managing a business venture, the key aspects to success will require those skills and
motivational imperatives epitomized by the entrepreneur.
The dictionary definition of an entrepreneur is, simply, "a person who organizes and manages a business
undertaking, assuming the risk for the sake of the profit" (Webster 1970, 467). The key factor in
entrepreneurship, which ultimately fosters entrepreneurial success, is the ability to create or enhance the
value of the firm through its service or product offerings. Demonstrating this ability results in fiscal (as well
as psychological) profitability and reward for the firm. Entrepreneurs typically possess drive, energy,
dedication, and the need for independence and to control individual destiny. They are the collective
engine which drives a dynamic economy.
Entrepreneurs are often the initiators of change in the commercial environment, or are among the first to identify the