Learning & Development

Paving the Way for Intrapreneurship

The great minds of business founders are often the driving force that propels those businesses to success. Examples like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos come immediately to mind. Of course, for companies that are already established, it’s obviously not possible to find a “founder,” but they can hope to find a founder-caliber employee in their hiring process.

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Then again, won’t those entrepreneurial greats simply leave to found their own businesses? That’s exactly what happened with Kentucky Fried Chicken star employee Dave Thomas, who leveraged his entrepreneurial spirt and experience working with the Colonel to start fast food giant Wendy’s.

Finding the Entrepreneurial Talent Within

Many companies have entrepreneurial employees who are top talent but also flight risks. The balance companies hope to find is a team member who can bring all the value of an entrepreneur without the risk.

This valued employee is often referred to as an “intrapreneur.”

Intrapreneurship is the system wherein the principles of entrepreneurship are practiced within the boundaries of a firm,” explains Sara Caroline Sabin in an article for Entrepreneur. “An intrapreneur is a person who takes on the responsibility to innovate new ideas, products and processes or any new invention within the organization.”

The Benefits of Intrapreneurship

There are many reasons intrapreneurship can be the key to company success. For one, companies that embrace the idea of intrapreneurship give their employees outlets for their creative energies and passion and allow them to take ownership of some aspects of the organization, even if it’s as small as a temporary initiative with no budget. This can greatly boost employee engagement and satisfaction.

Another key benefit of intrapraneurship is that it helps ensure the longevity of a company. No matter how great a company’s founder, at some point, that person is going to retire or pass way. Companies simply can’t rely on this employee’s drive and vision indefinitely. Nurturing intrapreneurship is one way to make sure great ideas and vision keep the company relevant and competitive long after the founder has left.

Visionary entrepreneurs have taken some of the biggest companies in the world from a garage to the Fortune 100 through their personal brilliance. But companies can’t rely on great entrepreneurs alone. By nurturing intrapreneurship, companies can develop the types of skills and ideas entrepreneurs are known for while keeping them in-house.