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Startup Basics

Who Is An Entrepreneur?

Who Is An Entrepreneur?
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You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Last week in one of our afkar.me, our incubation/acceleration initiative for the MENA market, our youngest team member made a quite interesting statement when we were discussing our value proposition for ‘treps: “Well, you know that I’m not an entrepreneur, so I can just try to think like one.”

  1. An entrepreneur is a starter. An entrepreneur is an initiator, a challenger and a driver. Someone that creates something new, either an initiative, a business or a company. He or she is the beginning (and sometimes the end) of a venture, project or activity. The entrepreneur might not be the ideator, but he or she is definitely the one that decides to make that idea a reality.
  2. An entrepreneur is the driver. The entrepreneur is the person in charge, the leader and the person to look to for leadership. He or she is the one that pushes forward and inspires a team to follow. The entrepreneur is the one that sits in the driver’s seat, and has the ability to change direction, accelerate, slow down or even stop a venture.  
  3. An entrepreneur is accountable and responsible. The entrepreneur is the ultimate responsible for the destiny of its venture, which can be a company, a project, or any other endeavor. The entrepreneur is the one that has the highest stakes at the venture, thus the one that needs to be empowered to fully direct the endeavor.

Being an entrepreneur is not directly related to having an equity stake in a company, but instead showcases the leadership-related points. Why do we tend to associate entrepreneurship with equity ownership (as value), instead of understanding it as the one that has the highest stakes in an endeavor, which sometimes gets translated into entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is more than financial gains

We tend to associate entrepreneurship with direct financial benefits and risk, but not only when the entrepreneur has equity in the company, he or she is exposed to the financial upsides and downturns. Corporate ventures and corporate entrepreneurship allows “corporate entrepreneurs” to benefit of the upsides of their projects without having equity stakes.

Corporate entrepreneurship does exist

Traditional corporate culture tends to disregard the entrepreneurial approach. However, with the proliferation of new startups and disruptive innovations, corporations have been forced to embrace the entrepreneurial approach towards running and operating their business. An entrepreneurial approach is not only more agile and dynamic, but also results in a more lean operation. By providing a strong level of staff empowerment, you create a strong sense of ownership, which results in better outcomes for any endeavor.

Passion is the real drive

There is another element that really dwells at the center of any entrepreneur: passion! An entrepreneur possesses an interior fuel and stamina that drives his or her actions; this superior energy helps to overtake and surpass the different challenges and it injects strength to continue pursuing goals when difficulties arise. Anyone can be an entrepreneur and behave like one- regardless of whether or not they happen to be an equity holder. Ultimately, it’s all about the attitude when running the show.