Pratt’s Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD) is committed to expanding our resources, support, and opportunities for entrepreneurs. In leading this charge, one of the first things I encountered is that the topic of entrepreneurship is huge. In order to best serve the Pratt community, this blog post will hone in on four entrepreneurship categories to help frame this endeavor. Considering your needs as entrepreneurs in this way will help us expand our services and improve the entrepreneurship ecosystem at Pratt.
There are dozens of articles deciphering the types of entrepreneurs that exist and they range from 3 types to 9 or more. Some focus on the traits of the entrepreneur and some focus on the traits of the venture; and there are online quizzes that can help you determine what type of entrepreneur you are. I have surveyed several of these articles and found there are four categories that broadly capture entrepreneurship in a way that serves our community that closely relate to the 6 startup categories identified by Steve Blanks: Startups, Small Businesses, Social Enterprise and Intrapreneurship.
Steve Blanks adamantly says that startups are not just small versions of large companies. Startups have the potential to become large companies, but the actions that make sense for a startup will not likely makes sense for a large company. Startups begin by disrupting a current market and either identify ways to take customers from existing companies or create new markets altogether. The growth of a startup is rapid and requires it to be agile, nimble, and flexible so it can pivot when necessary. These are not common characteristics of a large company. Despite being scrappy, the startup model has to be repeatable and success depends greatly on fast paced analysis and high risk decisions. Our startups category would include Blank’s Scalable Startup or Buyable Startup types.
Small businesses may also become large companies, but they are not always designed to be scalable. Many small businesses are set up to serve a local community and include brick-and-mortar businesses like corner stores, barber shops, and cafes. Small businesses also include lifestyle businesses that turn and individual’s passion into a source of income such as a musician teaching guitar lessons or an artist selling his or her work on Etsy. Some small business owners take on employees and grow to require teams of people to run operations, while some are run by solopreneurs—individuals that singlehandedly own and operate their business. The small business category would include Blank’s Lifestyle Startups and Small-Business Startup types.
Startups and small business have a single bottom line: to make a profit. A recent trend of social enterprise introduces the notion of a triple bottom line that expands the priorities to include people and planet in addition to Profit. This trend has inspired new business models, certifications, and even legal structures that create the opportunity to make money and do good in the world. This critical distinction empowers an organization to leverage decisions based on more than just financial return so that stakeholders can no longer coerce exit strategies that have the biggest dollar amount. The social enterprise category would include the Social Startup type.
Intrapreneurship is a much harder category to define, but is one of the most common among the Pratt community. There are many advising sessions where I hear Pratt students and alumni describe the job they want and wonder how long it will be until their job shows up on a listing. The fact is it may never show up. Intrapreneurs work at (or are hired into) an existing organization and innovate from within. This means changing a current model and disrupting existing methods. It takes a high aptitude for negotiating and requires someone to have a clear sense of their vision and the value they will bring. Intrapreneurs invent new business models, develop new teams, and decipher new roles within existing companies and the intrepreneurship category would include the Large Company Startup type.
Entrepreneurs include anyone who embodies the main qualities of entrepreneurship: seeking change, navigating the unknown, assuming risk, and innovating. To me, this describes almost every creative individual. The Center for Career & Professional Development is working to harness the entrepreneurial spirit and provide opportunities to help you fine tune your vision, acquire a great team, and build the skills needed to create successful sustainable businesses.
If you’d like to get involved in the conversation, we’ve created an online form to capture your interests so as we grow this area of high demand we know what direction will have the most impact.
Editor’s Note: This site was hacked and the original content lost in 2014. This article, originally published in spring 2014, was recovered form a draft version and updated. #lost&found