10 types of entrepreneurship and why they matter

Entrepreneurship is a much broader concept than what most people think: a person who runs his own business. It also involves large company entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial activity at a small business, social entrepreneurship – both commercial and not-for-profit ), and teaching entrepreneurship to kids and students at universities. In this blog, you can read a concise overview of the most common entrepreneurship types and why they matter.

What is entrepreneurship?

Before we dive deeper into the 10 entrepreneurial types, we first have to define Entrepreneurship. In our vision, entrepreneurship is:

“Seeing opportunities, exploring and exploiting them, and creating value for yourself and others, sustainably.”

It is a broad definition, true. However, it refers to a process, and it covers the three most important verbs: seeing, exploiting, and creating. The method of turning an innovative idea into a profitable business model through deliberate and purposeful entrepreneurial activity. Within this definition, you can identify 10 types of entrepreneurship. Let’s discuss them below. 

10 entrepreneurship types

Once you start thinking about entrepreneurship, the entrepreneur type makes its appearance too. You can’t separate the person from the business. They are intertwined. In fact, the Skills, Abilities, Knowledge, and Competencies of the person behind the business are the most important asset of a company. Yet, there are ten types of entrepreneurs and they have different meanings and impact That’s why it matters to take a closer look at them. 

Below are the most common ones:

  1. The entrepreneur
  2. The intrapreneur
  3. The edupreneur
  4. The private entrepreneur
  5. The lifestyle entrepreneur
  6. The social entrepreneur
  7. The successful entrepreneur
  8. The innovative entrepreneur
  9. The serial entrepreneur
  10. The startup

Let’s have a closer look at each of these types of entrepreneurs.

1. Entrepreneur

The first type is, of course, the entrepreneur. There are many business owners in the world, but not all of them are enterprising too. Anyone can be a small business owner. You only have to register at a companies house and apply for a VAT number, and you’re ready to take off.

So, a business owner has to be entrepreneurial too. At least entrepreneurial enough for the business he is in. What makes them entrepreneurial is that they continuously see new opportunities, find ways to exploit them, and create value for others and themselves. Value can be money, but mostly it is more about creating freedom, self-realization, and happiness. It doesn’t always involve a disruptive innovation. 

Therefore, the main question business owners should ask themselves is if they are the right man or woman for the job.

However, it all begins with self-awareness and self-knowledge. This means that entrepreneurs need to assess their strengths and weaknesses objectively.

Unfortunately, many business owners lack this self-reflective ability. Research shows that only 28% have accurate self-knowledge. Because of this, they follow the wrong strategy, which eventually results in failure or bankruptcy. 

Only the “good” ones understand that in to grow your business, you need to grow too. You need to develop the right mindset.

2. Intrapreneur

Closely related to the entrepreneur, the intrapreneur is the second type of entrepreneurship. Due to a rapidly changing world, corporations, large and small, have to change too. They have to anticipate and act. Not only the management board of a large company has to be enterprising, but employees also have to think and act as an entrepreneur.

Intrapreneurship means employees must foresee what will come, even though they do not know what direction it will be going to. Therefore, they first need to see opportunities. Secondly, they have to convince others, like the board, to ensure that the organization can utilize them. Ultimately, creating value for the whole company.

How HR can spot entrepreneurial DNA

However, in many jobs, they are looking for an entrepreneur. Yet, what they actually mean is an enterprising employee. Still, there are a lot of employees who lack this entrepreneurial DNA. Fortunately, with special programs, HR can discover the best entrepreneurial employees. Moreover, for those with potential, within their job, they can grow an entrepreneurial way of thinking. At least, as long as the structure and culture of their organization supports intrapreneurship.

3. Edupreneur

Another type is that of the edupreneur. Lots of students are positive about starting a business of their own. Even if they don’t want to start a business, employers are looking for staff with an entrepreneurial attitude.

So, education has to focus on entrepreneurship. As a consequence, vocational education is forced to change its qualifications. These should entail orientation towards entrepreneurship, enterprising behavior, and running your own business. However, most teachers really don’t know how to teach today’s students an entrepreneurial way of thinking.

Why teachers need to have coaching skills for tomorrow’s students

Being entrepreneurial is an umbrella term for an entrepreneurial way of thinking and behaving. The entrepreneurial mindset is essential for entrepreneurship. It boils down to creating value for yourself and others, preferably in a sustainable way. However, value is much more than money alone. An entrepreneurial attitude helps everyone in daily life, such as at home, at school, and at work.

The good news is that it can be developed, also among students. Especially if it happens in a continuous and blended learning environment, but it requires, above all, entrepreneurial coaching skills of the teacher. With our E-Courses, teachers can learn online how to coach student entrepreneurs.

4. A private entrepreneur

A private entrepreneur is a self-employed person or a solopreneur. You can easily engage in small-scale businessactivities, mainly based on your own work input. In many countries, this is the largest group of entrepreneurs. For example, cultural entrepreneurs are more less forced to become self-employed. 

Private entrepreneurship is the lightest and purest company form. For example, the drone entrepreneur who has come to existence since drones needed a pilot, and some young kids were eager to fill this gap. These kids or youngsters are beyond student entrepreneurship because they do this for real and not for some school assignment. They earn a living with their services. 

Some claim that the self-employed person is not the same as the entrepreneurial owner-manager of a company because they are not growing a business, but only trying to earn a living. However, that’s not accurate. Many self-employed people are very entrepreneurial working in multiple projects at the same time, but simply don’t want the burden of being responsible for employees. 

5. The lifestyle entrepreneur

This entrepreneur sees entrepreneurship is a way of life. As long as it is fun to do, they keep going. Even if the companyis growing, and they still enjoy the entrepreneurial lifestyle, they will continue. However, the minute the fun starts to fade away, they rethink their strategy or even stop their business, to start something different. In that sense, you could also speak of a funpreneur. 

Kimanzi Constable says in his article on entrepreneur.com that the lifestyle entrepreneur is a venture creator who makes his living online. But then, in my humble opinion, it would make more sense to call that an online entrepreneur, wouldn’t you agree too?

6. The social entrepreneur

This type of entrepreneur wants to solve a societal problem with a social enterprise. Meaningful entrepreneurs realize that every company is active in a society, that they are part of the same earth and therefore want to gear their actions accordingly. 

In order to achieve business goals and social impact, it is crucial not only to understand business, but also to solve social problems. In addition to an entrepreneurial attitude, it requires additional communication and social skills.

7. The successful entrepreneur

When you talk about the entrepreneur, I am pretty sure you have an image of a successful person in mind. However, seeing opportunities and turning them into a startup doesn’t necessarily make someone successful. Some startups have negative cash flow. You can call it entrepreneurial, for sure. It’s not yet a scalable startup or even harder to achieve: a unicorn (valued over $1 billion).

Success is determined by culture. It varies by country. Maybe in silicon valley, you can proudly yell that you found an investor to fund your startup. In other countries, like the Netherlands, it is not done to call yourself successful; the number of employees you have grown into will tell how successful you are.

8. The innovative entrepreneur

The silicon valley entrepreneur will quickly qualify as an innovative entrepreneur. These entrepreneurial ventures bring a new product to the market, mostly technology-related, and they rely heavily on venture capital. Especially when it involves a disruptive innovation, venture capitalists are lining up for the innovator. 

9. The serial entrepreneur

The serial type of entrepreneurship is someone who starts and leads one business after another. Although, it is also used for the small business entrepreneur who runs multiple businesses at the same time. By definition the serial type has an entrepreneurial personality. He or she sees multiple opportunities and decides to exploit them at the same time. 

10. The startup

A startup is when more than one founder decides to build a company around a new idea. The entrepreneurial venture is small and may have a couple of employees from the start, although these early birds are quickly invited to become co-founders. They need to grow. Therefore, scalable startup entrepreneurship is their primary focus, but not without an exit strategy to cash in on their investment on time. 

However, not all of the founders have to be entrepreneurial. It’s is more important that all the founders complement each other. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. The E-Scan Team Analysis can shed light into that dark area for both the founders and investors.