10 types of entrepreneurship and why they matter

Entrepreneurship is a much broader concept than most people think: being an entrepreneur. A person who runs their own business. There are many more types. It also involves large company entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial activity within a small business, social entrepreneurship (both commercial and not-for-profit ), and teaching entrepreneurship to kids and students at schools and 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. What is entrepreneurship? In our vision, entrepreneurship is:

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

Prof. Dr. Martijn Driessen

It is a broad definition, true. However, it refers to a process. The process covers the three most essential verbs: seeing, exploiting, and creating. It is turning an innovative idea into a profitable business model. It requires 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 impacts. That’s why it matters to take a closer look at them. 

Below are the most common types:

  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. At least entrepreneurial enough for the business they have. They are entrepreneurial because they see new opportunities, find ways to exploit them, and create value for others and themselves. Value can be money or income, but it is mostly about creating freedom, bringing the best out of themselves, 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 person 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.

Unluckily, many business owners lack this self-reflective ability. Research shows that only 28% have accurate self-knowledge. Because of this, the majority follow the wrong strategy. If they do something about it, it will lead to failure or bankruptcy.

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

Do you want to know what type of entrepreneur you are? Take the 1-minute free test below and find out.

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 does the management board of a large company has to be enterprising, but employees also have to think and act like 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, Human Resources can discover the best entrepreneurial employees with special programs. Moreover, those with potential within their job can grow an entrepreneurial way of thinking. At least as long as the structure and culture of their organization support intrapreneurship.

3. Edupreneur

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

So, education has to focus on entrepreneurship. As a consequence, vocational education must change its qualifications. These should entail orientation towards entrepreneurship, enterprising behavior, and running your own business. However, most teachers have no clue how to teach today’s students an entrepreneurial way of thinking.

Why do 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. It can be freedom to do what you want. A good income or helping others. An entrepreneurial attitude helps everyone in daily life, such as at home, school, and 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 business activities. Mainly based on your own work input. In many countries, this is the largest group of entrepreneurs. For example, cultural entrepreneurs are more or less forced to become self-employed. 

Private entrepreneurship is the lightest and purest company form. For example, the drone entrepreneur who has come into 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. They are only trying to earn a living. However, that’s not accurate. Many self-employed people are very entrepreneurial. They are working on multiple projects alongside but simply don’t want the burden of being responsible for employees.

5. The lifestyle entrepreneur

This entrepreneur sees entrepreneurship as a way of life. As long as it is fun to do, they keep going. Even if their company is growing and they still enjoy the entrepreneurial lifestyle, they continue. However, the minute the fun starts to fade away, they rethink their strategy or even stop their business to create 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 society. They are part of the same earth and therefore want to gear their actions accordingly.

To achieve business goals with 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 at 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. They see multiple opportunities and decide 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 founders have to be entrepreneurial. It’s is more important all the founders complement each other. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. The E-Scan Team Analysis can shed light on that dark area for both the founders and investors.