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What is an Intrapreneur and How Can You Become One?

written by: heatherschulte•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 2/16/2011

Internal + Entrepreneurs = Intrapreneurs. Entrepreneurs work within an organization using basic entrepreneurial management skills. The management concept used by intrapreneur is known as intrapreneurship. How do intrapreneurs differ from entrepreneurs? How do you go about becoming an intrapreneur?

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    Intrapreneurship comes about when employees within an organization take the initiative to do something new within the established business using the resources and capabilities of the organization. Intrapreneurs are internal entrepreneurs within an organization. They follow the goals and objectives of the parent organization, but also bring in the dynamic nature of entrepreneurial management, therefore increasing the potential of that organization. So, how do you go about becoming an intrapreneur? Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs 

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    How Do Intrapreneurs Function?

    Many companies set up departments within their business, to promote new ideas and innovations from employees in their ranks. This can be associated with a special project, or may be used to revive a static condition in the business. They give incentives to these employees and back them up with the necessary funds, so that the intrapreneurs can function without hindrance and produce results. Consider becoming an intrapreneur within your company if you have a creative side and the ability to think outside the box.

    An area where this is very widely used is in direct sales of products. Commissions are offered for the network that the sales persons build up in order to further the interests of the parent organization. They are given full freedom to expand the network and gather a team that functions within the rules of the parent organization. If you have a good understanding of marketing and can benefit the company with your unique marketing strategies, becoming an intrapreneur may move your career forward.

    Intrapreneurs are used to market new technology. They find ways to get the product to the market and in some case may also have to come up with ways to create the market itself. All risks that they take while trying to achieve their targets are borne by the parent organization. Are you a marketing trail blazer? Why not establish new markets for corporate products, becoming a marketing intrapreuner within your company.

    Intrapreneurs have extensive control over the enterprises or interprises they create. They may be part of a separate profit center. There are cases where intrapreneurs operate their own bank accounts. They set up their own training programs and have the freedom to choose the jobs that they want to do within that interprise. These interprises have an official standing in the organization. Because intrapreneurs operate with a great deal of latitude, an MOU, or memorandum of understanding, may be drawn up between the intrapreneurs and the organization. The MOU creates a formal understanding of what is expected.

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    Advice for Intrapreneurs

    Before becoming an intrapreneur, you will want to carefully consider your overall mission for the company. What are they asking you to acheive? Do you have the skills to accomplish this goal? Also, consider the resources that will be available to you. It will be your job to see that the desired results are achieved with these resources. Build up a good team and get others to share your ideas and actively participate in furthering them. Be realistic about the goals you have set for yourself. Respect and honor your co-workers and remember that you are there because they have taken the risk of having confidence in your abilities.

    Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons






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