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Entrepreneur – a term that sounds great and promises big and special things. The name comes from the French and is made up of the two words “entre” and “prendre”. Translated, this means something like “enterprise”. But how exactly does one become such an entrepreneur and what is the exact definition?



The term was used for the first time in 1725 – by the British economist Richard Cantillon. For him, the entrepreneur represented the risk bearer of the company, who was subject to a high level of income insecurity. Later, the term and the definition were expanded and refined by Joseph Schumpeter and David McClelland.


In the classic sense of the definition, an entrepreneur is the founder and owner of the company. His actions are characterized by a sense of responsibility, focus on his goal, independence, and willpower – just what is expected of a company owner who bears the entrepreneurial risk. Today, however, the term entrepreneur goes a bit beyond the classical definition and function of a managing director. For example, he is also characterized by innovative ideas that are ahead of their time. In addition, entrepreneurs are very goal-oriented, committed and do not shy away from taking risks.



Entrepreneurship is about the person, their character, attitude to life and ability to successfully manage a company, to drive it forward. The term entrepreneurship describes the entrepreneur’s passion, his company foundation and the motivation to implement his idea and to realize himself and his dream of becoming an entrepreneur.



An entrepreneur basically has a strong will, acts responsibly and is always independent. No big difference to a classic business owner. But with a real entrepreneur, it should be obvious that ideas and new thoughts are constantly emerging in his area that involve the entire company. In general, entrepreneurship is about developing creative ideas that did not exist before and that no one else thinks of or has ever developed.



Prominent examples of entrepreneurship come to mind immediately and without much thought. Companies like Apple and its founder Steve Jobs or Muhammad Yunus, who founded the microfinance credit institute “Grameen Bank” in Bangladesh in 1983, are prominent examples of entrepreneurship. Yunus made it possible for people suffering from famine to set up small businesses and thus offer them social and economic participation. As one of the entrepreneurs, Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for this idea. Both Jobs and Yunus sparked profound change in development policy and the computer industry with their unique and creative ideas.


In the US, much of the job growth can be attributed to fast-growing and innovative start-ups. In Germany, on the other hand, entrepreneurship is still in its infancy, so to speak.



The federal and state governments provide various funds to promote business start-ups. Innovative business models in particular are to be supported by federal and state funding. According to studies, there is immense potential for innovative business ideas and models at our German universities. Research, learning and teaching takes place here, but research results are not used accordingly. In order to change this, start-up centers have already been established at many universities in Germany. These incubators look for the creative minds in the schools, direct and guide them in their first steps within self-employment.



Entrepreneurship is diverse. There are different styles, such as social entrepreneurship, ecopreneurship, serial entrepreneurship and many others. We would like to briefly show you how these definitions of entrepreneurship differ –

  • High tech entrepreneurship: As the name suggests, the founding of the company is primarily based on knowledge-intensive technology with a high degree of innovation. Especially with this type of foundation, a long and mostly very capital-intensive development time is usually necessary. This time must be bridged with appropriate means. There are now various funding programs for exactly this type of start-up, which provide support with good planning and a convincing and well thought-out concept.


  • Regional Entrepreneurship: As entrepreneurs, their companies are connected and rooted in their region. They often focus on promoting regional ties, which is also reflected in the corporate culture of the entrepreneur.
  • Social Entrepreneurship: This entrepreneurship focuses on social, cultural, or environmental issues. These will probably become more and more important in the future. To solve social problems and challenges, creative ideas from entrepreneurs are of course required, and these can be used to conquer even large markets.
  • Ecopreneurship: This entrepreneurship faces the challenges of environmental sustainability. Ecopreneurs are characterized by a high degree of innovation, they uncover market niches and find creative solutions, for example to remedy various consequences of market failure. They are also among the pragmatic visionaries who put their way of thinking and ideas of a liveable and sustainable environment into practice.


  • Senior Entrepreneurship: The statutory age limit and retirement age do not apply to these entrepreneurs. A senior entrepreneur has the advantage that he has decades of experience that he can bring to his company and his activities. Many companies have realized that the knowledge of senior entrepreneurs is worth its weight in gold and are more than happy that these people are starting or continuing their entrepreneurial careers at retirement age.


  • Serial Entrepreneurship: Multiple or series-by-series founders are behind this term. “Series-by-series” serial founders are currently only busy with one start-up project, but after their completion they devote themselves to a new start-up project. “Multiple” serial founders, on the other hand, are involved in several start-ups at the same time.


  • Intrapreneurship: This is a design approach to increase flexibility and innovative power at all levels of a company. Employees are encouraged to contribute their own ideas and ideas, to actively intervene in business processes and to take on more personal responsibility. Ideally, intrapreneurship leads to a so-called win-win situation for everyone. Employees are more motivated by their own initiative and their actions are in the interests of the company, which in turn benefits the company.




That was all pure theory, but you are probably asking yourself the question: “How do I become an entrepreneur?” and above all “How do I become a successful entrepreneur?” In the following we would like to explain to you what you have to do to become a successful entrepreneur to be – far from definitions. Because a business idea alone is not enough for entrepreneurs.



Before, during, and after starting your business, there will always be distractions that draw your attention. Above all, it is often the problems that distract from the actual goal, but sometimes new ideas can do the same. Make sure you give your company and your goals your undivided attention.



Information – it represents a certain power for you and is your central component of success. Gather information wherever you can, because information is extremely important for a successful entrepreneur. Also, your decisions are often based on the information you have gathered. In addition, you should study your competitors and see what they are doing. Analyze the market structure, collect data and information that fits your business and addresses your target group in a perfect way.



If you want to be successful as an entrepreneur, speed is key – namely the speed of learning and adapting. The faster your product or service is ready for the market, the faster your company will be known and will develop accordingly. If you are too slow to react to changes in the market, you may lose customers as a result. Therefore: Be ready for anything and at any time and react accordingly.


Communication is very important for a successful entrepreneur. Even before founding your company, you have to communicate with the relevant people. And even during the founding of the company you have to stay in contact with certain people. Whether they are partners, customers or investors – communicate with them. Above all, communicate your ideas, because this is the only way you can be successful. If you don’t have this skill, attend seminars that give you tips and advice on how to have a perfect conversation with other people.



This also applies to founding a company. For large companies, a misstep rarely has a financial impact, but if you allow yourself to make a misstep as a small business, as a “fresh starter” so to speak, it can be more than critical. In the worst case, your company is already at the end at the beginning. To prevent this from happening, you should have an appropriate financial plan in place. And above all, always keep an eye on your finances. As an entrepreneur and founder, you usually decide on your own – so carefully weigh up what is important and what is unimportant and what could have a positive or negative effect on your company.



Self-confidence or at least a self-confident appearance are also part of the appearance of an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you must believe in your ideas and not let setbacks get you down. You must also be able to convince others of your ideas and visions so that they believe in you and the company and pull together with you.



It can also be very valuable for an entrepreneur to choose a role model to follow. Many would like to do everything on their own and come up with their own ideas – but this is not always necessary for entrepreneurs. There are many people who have already managed to become very successful. And they seem to have done a lot right. So, grab the biographies or success stories of well-known entrepreneurs and extract from them what you want to implement for your company.



It takes a lot of courage to start your own business. Especially if you have no previous experience in the field. Of course, you can now study numerous books that tell you how to become self-employed and an entrepreneur. However, it is something completely different when the time has come and you dare to take the step. There is always a piece that remains unknown and surprising – and that requires a lot of courage that not everyone dares to muster.