An intrapreneur is a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation. It is derived as INTRA(corporate) + PRENEUR(entre).
An entrepreneur takes substantial risk in being the owner and operator of a business with expectations of financial profit and other rewards that the business may generate. The words entrepreneur and intrapreneur have acquired special significance in the content of economic growth in a rapidly changing industrial climate both in developed and developing countries. Entrepreneur is a key person who envisages new opportunities, new techniques , new lines of production , new products and coordinates all other activities.
On the other hand, intrapreneurs are entrepreneurs who catch hold of a new idea for product service or process and work to bring this idea to fruition within the framework of the organisation. Intrapreneurs with their innovations and dedicated effort are perceived as valuable asset by the organisation, inspiring others. They serve as champions to others in those organisations. In America, a number of business executives have left their jibs and started their own enterprises because they were not given chance to test and implement their innovative ideas. Later, they achieved phenomenal success in their new venture and posed a threat to the companies they left. These executives turned entrepreneurs are known as intrapreneurs.
Both “preneurs” set themselves aside from employees in a number of ways but perhaps, the most significant is their relationship with the business. It’s a question of commitment over involvement. “Employees” are involved, “preneurs” are committed.
Not every business needs an entrepreneur, but every business needs an intrapreneur. In the same way that the seed of a business idea needs an entrepreneur to shape and cultivate it, so the entrepreneur needs the intrapreneur to pluck from his grasp the seeds of opportunity, convert them into a viable commercial plan and then, manage that plan to a profitable reality. Without the intrapreneur, ideas, entrepreneurs and small businesses are doomed to fail.