World Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship
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World Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana

This comprehensive reference work, written by some of the most eminent academics in the field, contains entries on numerous aspects of entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 5: Defining the Entrepreneur

Louis Jacques Filion


Louis Jacques Filion INTRODUCTION This chapter reflects on the notion of defining the entrepreneur. After presenting some background information on the various meanings associated with the term ‘entrepreneur’, we introduce the three main pioneers who dealt with this subject: Cantillon, Say and Schumpeter. Fifteen of the most frequently mentioned elements from definitions found in the literature were retained, along with 12 of the activities that best characterize what entrepreneurs do. Six main components are proposed for inclusion in a definition of the entrepreneur: (1) innovation, (2) opportunity recognition, (3) risk management, (4) action, (5) use of resources and (6) added value. Some sample definitions are proposed, and the conclusion suggests that there are different levels of innovation and of entrepreneurial expression. What is an entrepreneur? What characterizes entrepreneurs and distinguishes them from other organizational and social actors? How can the entrepreneur be defined? These are typical questions that most new entrepreneurship researchers ask, and to which a variety of answers can be found in the literature. As for why there is such a broad range of perspectives, the answer is far from simple. First, the range of entrepreneurial roles is increasing steadily, and now includes venture creators, technopreneurs, intrapreneurs, extrapreneurs, social entrepreneurs, the self-employed and many others. In this chapter, the term ‘entrepreneur’ is used to refer to all these entrepreneurial actors. Observation reveals that entrepreneurship is a complex phenomenon involving a set of activities with technical, human, managerial and entrepreneurial characteristics, the performance of which requires a diverse set...

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