Intrapreneurship is a concept that many people do not clearly understand how it works. Worth noting is that it is a different concept from entrepreneurship in general. Speaking of which, the “intra” is derived from internal and the last part from entrepreneurship itself to end up with intrapreneurship. In particular, intrapreneurship is the bottom-up approach that can transpire in any kind of organization regardless of its size whether it is big or small. According to other relevant authorities, intrapreneurship is the total opposite of corporate entrepreneurship which is the top-down approach since the dictates come from the senior management on how the innovations mandates will be conducted by the company personnel. In developing countries such as Zimbabwe and her African sisters, intrapreneurship is not that rife as compared to developed countries such as the United States of America. With regards to the people in developing countries, they have a tendency of wanting it all for themselves without looking at the bigger picture. To make matters worse, a lot of companies are closing shop due to Covid-19 which has exacerbated an already bad situation. In my own opinion, given that developing nations give intrapreneurship a serious thought then we are definitely destined for a robust economic development.
Notably, intrapreneurship is the ability by certain individuals in companies to come up with good innovations which are even novel in nature. Consequently, these individuals are driven by creativity in all that they do to such an extent that they will end up improving the company’s processes and operations whilst at the same time coming up with new business ideas that will end up having these corporates diversifying in novel high tech commercial ventures. Interestingly, usually these intrapreneurs are later given the sole responsibility to head independently these new ventures as sub business units. That said, one has to be proactive and a risk taker to be able to fare well as an intrapreneur. Adding to that, it is a trait that to a certain extent has to be inborn for intrapreneurs are highly motivated individuals. In other words, you do not have to be pushed to be flexible in such a corporate environment distinguished by diversity.
Frankly speaking, the major problem why people shun intrapreneurship is because they claim they have nothing to gain by doing so after all at the end of the day, the profits will trickle down to the company without doubt. At the same, others are fearful of having their ideas being stolen by their superiors or immediate supervisors for which will result in them ultimately not getting any kind of credit. Nevertheless, a true intraprenuer does not consider that at all. Instead, he or she thrives in such toxic environment for they always have ready answers to solve a company’s problems timeously. Indeed, this is why intrapreneurs are referred to as first movers who take advantage of an opportunity before the others learn of it. If one is an intrapreneur they will pride themselves in coming up with innovative ideas for the benefit of the company as a whole. The pioneer’ streak courses in their veins. All in all, they know that deep down in their hearts they would have stayed true to becoming pioneers of innovations who bring positive change in solving both the company’s and the general masses’ day to day social plus economic problems. To that effect, they constantly are up on their toes searching for unforeseen opportunities that will bring greater returns effectively to their companies. In fact, intrapreneurs get a certain level of pleasure knowing that they did it by themselves because of their dedication and passion to creatively destruct what is presently going on in the business world.
Research has it that companies that are started by intrapreneurs have a chance of surviving long and not meeting up with failure vice versa to those started by a sole entrepreneur without the backup of a big corporate. To this effect, as an entrepreneur you will be taking the risk upon yourself whilst for intrapreneurs the risk will be calculated and spread over the entire business operations of the firm. Also, the latter has no need to leverage on resources for they will be readily available at their disposal. In addition, you will get support, finance and other well needed resources from the company therefore it will also apply to infrastructure and access to high technology. Following this same line of thinking, most innovative companies in USA such as Facebook they pay their personnel who exhibit intraprenuership traits for coming up with new ideas and implementing them even if they flop because they know that the start of something big isn’t a promenade in the park. Equally, the Great Wall of China wasn’t built in a day henceforth when coming with new ideas that will help the day to day operations of a large corporate, rest assured that blood, sweat and tears will be shed although not necessarily in that order.
On all intents and purpose, intrapreneurship is the in thing nowadays were many big corporates have been reduced to white elephants with investors jumping ship. If you have what it takes to become an intrapreneur, you need to prove what you are made of. All in all, true intrapreneurs doesn’t hide behind the backs of others or let the spot light get stolen from them were business matters are concerned. The truth of the matter is that being an entrepreneur or intrapreneur requires a lot of work however for the latter you also get the extra benefit of working with likeminded entrepreneurial teams as you have the corporate’s common goal at heart. For that reason, there is need of a paradigm shift of mind so that people can embrace the significance of intrapreneurs without qualms. A good example of a company that profited from the intrapreneurship doctrine is that of eBay whereby Healer Cypher as chief of staff realized that the business was missing out on something. As a result, he gathered around in house engineers who were able to create an interactive storefront innovatively and this became another division for the company altogether. However, the only bad side of the story is that if such intrapreneurs are not given their due appreciation and recognition that they deserve then they will later on end up resigning and starting their own thing usually in the same line of business like where they were previously employed.
Interestingly, we need both intrapreneurs as well as entrepreneurs for they do complement each other in bringing about economic development that is translated by wealth creation and the mitigation of unemployment levels.
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Abigirl Phiri is a Ph.D student in commerce, free-lance writer, poet, International Ambassador of Peace, GBV activist, social entrepreneur, talent manager and an international marketer. More of her work can be found on her Facebook Page: Words are forever.