A person who starts a business on their own is called an entrepreneur. A person who behaves like an entrepreneur within an organisation is called an intrapreneur. Intrapreneurship is the art of creation and problem-solving within an organisation. An intrapreneur creates new products and services, develops new markets, and creates new systems and processes to improve the customer experience or solve painful company problems. Intrapreneurs are very valuable to any organisation and often rise up the ranks quite fast.

An intrapreneur is often bothered by the status quo and seeks ways to create new opportunities within an organisation. They are usually good at mobilising resources across the company and can often lead diverse teams even without an official job title. Throughout my career, I have seen such individuals firsthand. They accept ambiguity and uncertainty and take on roles outside their job description. They are passionate about solving an existing problem or exploiting a certain opportunity. They usually redefine their roles and value within an organisation. They are multi-skilled and have broad experiences which they bring to the playing field.

All corporate progress is led and defined by intrapreneurs. Organisations which are able to identify these people often go on to release great products and services. Intrapreneurs thrive best in open organisations which value creativity and self-leadership. Such an organisation will not punish failure but will use it as a learning opportunity.

A good intrapreneur does not necessarily make a good entrepreneur. Intrapreneurship relies on the resources and backing of the existing organisation. Think of mobile money and the telecom companies. Mobile money was developed within the telecom companies. It would have been extremely difficult to create it as an independent service without the backing of the telecom company. If you are privileged to work in an intrapreneurial organisation it may be advisable to stick in there and explore how you can create new business ventures from within.

There are many advantages to becoming intrapreneurial. Most reasonable bosses love a creative employee and will often give you the freedom to experiment. This freedom will allow you to grow much faster within the organisation compared to your peers who are following a job description. You will also learn a lot and lead a diverse set of projects, further increasing your earning power.

Of course, becoming intrapreneurial comes with a willingness to bear additional work, risk, and uncertainty. The projects you work on may fail, and you could take the blame. But more often than not, if you build the right alliances within the organisation you will get all the support you need.

So go ahead and become an intrapreneur so you can experience the thrill of entrepreneurship within the safety of your job.

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