Josh Bolinger: What is an Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneur. We see that word thrown around a lot, and I like to use it, too. But what does it mean?
Like any other word in common usage, it means different things to different people. I’ve seen the word defined to mean, “A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.” And I suppose that’s true, as far as it goes.
But to me, it means a little bit more. Yes, entrepreneurship means taking financial risk to operate a business, but it also means a specific kind of risk-taking. It means investing in innovation. I don’t think a person who invests money in the stock market, or who engages in hostile corporate takeovers to break companies up and sell off the pieces for a profit quite fit my definition of the word. I see entrepreneurship as an adventure in putting money into the cutting edge, the very front line, where the best ideas are, for change and improvement in our lives and in the world around us.
It isn’t just about making a profit. It’s about making a difference.
That’s not to sneer at making a profit, of course. This is a capitalist system, and profit is what makes it all work. But there are a lot of different ways to do it, and I see the emergence in our society of a specific class of adventurer-businesspeople who are out to make revolutionary changes in the world by investing their money in very specific way. The emergence of micro-lending is a great example of this kind of thinking. Funding tech start-ups is another – for myself, there is hardly anything that equals the joy of helping a small organization with big ideas get some traction and start producing results.
More than just generating ideas, I think entrepreneurship is about rethinking the way the world should work, the way a business should be run, and, most importantly, what the results should be.
It’s about an innovation revolution.