Entrepreneurship Isn't an Action, It's a State of Mind
(Oct 8, 2021) — By Robin Cheramie
Dean, Michael J. Coles College of Business
October, 8, 2021
When you think of an entrepreneur, there’s a good chance your mental picture is of someone running a makeshift office out of their garage or hitting up venture capitalists to fund their next project.
What you might not picture is a sales manager for a Fortune 500 company or an analyst at one of the Big Four accounting firms.
However, when you shift your thinking to consider entrepreneurship as a mindset – one that embraces leadership, problem-solving skills, and the ability to allocate resources – rather than strictly the act of starting a business, you will find that most successful businesspeople are actually entrepreneurs.
The same skills that prepare someone to build their own business from scratch can also prepare them to excel within an established one.
Some of the largest in the world like Coca-Cola, 3M and Google are famous for encouraging entrepreneurship within their organizations. The idea of promoting entrepreneurial thinking within an existing business has become so common that it has earned the name ‘corporate entrepreneurship.’
Corporate entrepreneurship can introduce innovative new ideas into a business that might otherwise stagnate. One example is Google, which has received a lot of press for its policy of encouraging employees to devote 20 percent of their time to personal projects. By allowing their employees to pursue passion projects, the company continues to launch products that grow the brand beyond its initial scope as a search engine.
Programs like this succeed because they give people a sense of ownership over their work. While traditional entrepreneurs experience this ownership inherently, it is up to each organization to create a culture that thrives on the entrepreneurship of its people. The benefits are obvious. Businesses with engaged people are more productive and profitable, according to Gallup.
With more businesses seeing the value of corporate entrepreneurship as a tool to drive innovation, business students who receive a well-rounded education in entrepreneurship are better positioned to thrive. Skills like the ability to see a project through from concept to completion and to accomplish goals with limited resources help make entrepreneurs among the best employees.
None of this is to say that traditional entrepreneurship is dead. Far from it. The U.S. Census Bureau says that there were more than 1 million new business applications during the fourth quarter of 2020.
What the rise of corporate entrepreneurship does say is that the unique way of thinking that comes with developing an entrepreneurial mindset can lead to professional success, regardless of whether a person chooses to work for themselves.
Dr. Robin Cheramie is Dean of the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University. She was instrumental in developing the College’s Bachelor of Business Administration degree in entrepreneurship. The Coles College also houses the Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center.