You’ve certainly heard of entrepreneurship: opening your own company or business, launching a brand, a product or a service. But in order to innovate, it is not always necessary for you to create your own company and leave your current job. It is possible to be an entrepreneur within an existing company. A new term for this practice was coined by the North American author Gifford Pinchot III – “intra-entrepreneurship” or “intrapreneurship”.
Read on and see what intrapreneurship is as nowadays many companies started to invest in professionals with entrepreneurial characteristics; and since it has become such an important business trend, it is time for you to discover how to become this type of professional and stand out in the job market.
What is intra-entrepreneurship?
At a time when innovation has become critical for maintaining companies’ competitive advantages, it is necessary to be alert to market trends and ideas to always stay up-to-date.
Companies that are aware of such trends have to identify professionals who can come up with initiatives, suggest new development ideas and are willing to take the lead in order to make changes in companies they work for.
Intrapreneurship can then be defined as the development of new ideas within existing businesses.
What are the characteristics of an intrapreneur?
An intrapreneurial professional knows that innovation depends on his or her ability to be proactive more than any other collaborator. This is the person who suggests new ideas, uses creativity, follows new trends and understands the company’s processes to suggest new ideas.
Some of the characteristics of intrapreneurs are:
Being prone to innovation
The intrapreneur always seeks for improvement, searching for ways to keep the company in a competitive position and, therefore, he or she needs to be aware of the market trends, updated in the business world and stays tuned to news about what happens in the business sector he or she operates.
Having a holistic business approach
In order to be an intrapreneur it is necessary to understand that corporative innovation depends on everyone; it can come from different departments of the company and does not necessarily come from the senior management.
Understanding the importance of new initiatives and suggesting ideas for the organization’s innovation is an important difference in the mindset of a common collaborator and an intrapreneur.
Companies look for people who are creative and proactive. Having ideas is important, but beyond that, it is necessary not to be afraid to develop these ideas, present them and put them in practice.
Having good communication skills
When presenting ideas, it is important to know how to put them clearly. When all the suggested ideas are organized, it is easier to draw an action plan in order to carry out these ideas.
Furthermore, it is also important to convince your managers why it may be profitable to implement new solutions by providing research evidence, satisfactory results from similar initiatives or simulations taking into account your company’s reality.
Being good at teamwork and organization
Having a holistic view of the working process, knowing how to deal with the variety of tasks and meeting deadlines is essential. Whether an intrapreneur is going to promote a major change or implement minor changes that are in line with market trends, for example, acquiring a new software, he or she must know how to deal with different people and recognize the importance of each member of the team.
It is necessary to know how to set goals and create a plan for each employee in a realistic and clear way counting on the performance of the entire team.
Understanding that possible benefits and risks belong to the company, but you the responsibility is also yours
Every innovation process comes with its risks and benefits. Unlike the entrepreneur, who is solely responsible for the outcomes of his or her initiatives and becomes the only one affected by any positive or negative results of new ideas, the intrapreneur knows that if the idea works, he or she will be partially affected by consequences of his or her initiative, but is also aware that if it doesn’t work, he or she will also be responsible for any negative results to a certain extent.
How to be a company that fosters intra-entrepreneurship?
A competitive company is one that is aware of market changes. Therefore, when identifying a professional with intra-entrepreneurial characteristics, it is important for managers to foster a culture of intrapreneurship in their companies.
In order to do so, here are some tips to follow:
Promote an environment that allows creativity
Understanding that employees need an environment where they can come up with new ideas is important for companies that seek innovation and results. Therefore, setting goals with realistic deadlines is essential for employees to have some free time and willingness to come up with ideas.
Promoting discussions about new technologies, suggesting activities to exchange ideas, encouraging constant search for professional training and participation in events in the sector in which the company operates or in areas related to innovation and providing space for collaborators to come up with new ideas are fundamental steps for managers who want to create an environment that would foster creativity processes in company.
Promote systematic management approach
It is important for the senior management to understand how each area of the firm works and how all the departments are interconnected. In addition, making employees understand this dynamic can also facilitate the creation of ideas that would work out in the end and bring results for the company as a whole.
Working with transparency
In order for employees to come up with and implement ideas that work for the organization, it is necessary for them to have access to key information related to the company’s performance. For example, it can be information related to financial resources for their understanding of the idea’s feasibility or data on the company’s relationship with stakeholders for them to better imagine possible impact of their initiatives.
All this information provides inputs for employees to assess the possibility of creating and suggesting innovative ideas in the organization.
Assessment of professionals with intrapreneurial characteristics
Professionals with an intra-entrepreneurial vision are a valuable asset for companies, which makes the competition for such employees more difficult.
Pay attention to these professionals and promote openness, provide bonuses for good results, implement corporate policies for career plan building, offer salaries compatible with the market as well as perks such as flexible working hours, benefits and support in the search for improvement and training: those are some of the ways to value and keep good professionals in company.
How do i become an intra-entrepreneur?
- Follow the technology and innovation market and look for references for good ideas that can bring benefits to your company;
- Be prepared to defend your ideas, but be open to criticism and improvement at the same time;
- Develop skills related to leadership and entrepreneurship, you can also work on these aspects by talking to leaders, reading business articles and taking courses;
- Develop a global perspective in your professional field.
What are the advantages of being an intra-entrepreneur?
A professional who develops intra-entrepreneurial characteristics can gain trust of the managers of the company he works for and generally has more opportunities for professional growth. In addition, promoting growth and innovation in the company brings benefits both for the organization and for professionals who work there.
Being an intrapreneur still provides the professional with competitive advantages in the labor market, which facilitates a smoother career path and, to some extent, guarantees professional a certain financial stability, in addition to personal fulfillment.
Now that you know what intrapreneurship is and what the advantages for the company and its employees are, how about taking the first step towards becoming an intrapreneur?
A course abroad can be an important step towards developing a global vision of the business and developing new ideas!
Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship course conducted by CUOA Business School in partnership with IBS Americas is aimed at undergraduates or professionals who are interested in developing entrepreneurial characteristics. In this short-term course, students will have a possibility to develop both managerial and creativity skills.
Classes are held with PhD professors with extensive executive experience. Students will have corporate visits to large companies in order to have a chance to talk to local executives; they will also visit the UN and WTO offices in Geneva, Switzerland.
By filling out the Application Form now, you will be able to participate in the selective process to apply for scholarships that will cover up to 50% of the investment in the program.
Don’t miss this chance to develop these essential skills in order to stand out in the labor market as an intrapreneur. There are few places left for the July/2022 and January/2023 classes. Access the website and learn more about this and other courses held at CUOA Business School.