Who Is An Intrapreneur? The Intrapreneur In A Nutshell

The intrapreneur is an employee which is usually assigned to innovative projects that can impact the company’s future success. As such, the intrapreneur is an employee that acts like an entrepreneur within the organisation. While the intrapreneur has access to the resources of the organisation she does not bear the risks connected to it.

How does Intrapreneurship work?

Intrapreneurs get assigned to special projects, that are extremely innovative. That is also why they are usually given the freedom to pursue them, which means the intrapreneur is extremely independent within the organisation.

Therefore, intrapreneurs can access resources from the organisation, thus organizing and working with those resources on innovative projects. At the same time the financial risks associated with the project stays with the organisation.

Intrapreneur vs. Entrepreneur

The primary difference is in risk-taking and ownership. Where the Intrapreneur does not own the company and does not take the financial risks associated with the project. The entrepreneur does.

That makes the entrepreneur more conservative, and risk avoidant. And the intrapreneur more risk-prone and in theory willing to take bolder steps that can make processes within an organisations obsolete. Thus, looking at innovations that can impact the whole organisation.

Good, in theory, what in practice?

While the concept of intrapreneurship is compelling and perhaps many companies have leveraged on it to keep innovating. At the same time the question stays open on whether the intrapreneur without skin in the game can really give a good contribution to the organisation.

Intrapreneurship example: Google’s 20% Project

Google is one of the companies that took advantage of intrapreneurs to build wildly successful products. As Brin and Page highlighted back in the 2004:

“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google…This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.”  

From this 20% project allocation, where employees could pursue the projects they felt compelled about, products like Google News, Gmail, and AdSense were built.

Connected Business Concepts

What is Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a continuous quest for real-world problem-solving. The success of a business is measured by how well you helped people solve those problems. While entrepreneurs can rely on methodologies, systems, and processes, they also need to know when to revert to instinct and leverage on their experience.

Acquisition Entrepreneurship

Acquisition Entrepreneurship (AE) starts by buying an existing business instead of starting one from scratch. Therefore, an acquisition entrepreneur masters the process of acquiring existing businesses to shorten the path to success. In short, the acquisition entrepreneur thinks like an investor in the process of buying an existing business and acts as a CEO once the deal has been closed and he needs to run the company to bring it to the next level.

Business Design

A business designer is a person that helps organizations to find and test a business model that can be tested and iterated so that value can be captured by the organization in the long run. Business design is the discipline, set of tools and processes that help entrepreneurs prototype business models and test them in the marketplace

Ramen Profitability

Serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Paul Graham popularized the term “Ramen Profitability.” As he pointed out “Ramen profitable means a startup makes just enough to pay the founders’ living expenses.”

Business Experimentation

Business experiments help entrepreneurs test their hypotheses. Rather than define the problem by making too many hypotheses, a digital entrepreneur can formulate a few assumptions, design experiments, and check them against the actions of potential customers. Once measured, the impact, the entrepreneur, will be closer to define the problem.


A solopreneur is usually (not always) a digital entrepreneur who leverages automation, work flexibility, and creativity to develop ultra-lean business models. Those can scale over the one-million-dollar revenue mark with a minimum business overhead, no venture capital funds, and mostly bootstrapped. Those solopreneurs start by mastering profitable microniches.

Value Proposition Design

A value proposition is about how you create value for customers. While many entrepreneurial theories draw from customers’ problems and pain points, value can also be created via demand generation, which is about enabling people to identify with your brand, thus generating demand for your products and services.

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