difference between entrepreneur and intrapreneur

Difference Between Entrepreneur and Intrapreneur: Which One Are You?

Many people get confused with the words entrepreneur and intrapreneur, as these are commonly used interchangeably.

There are many traits and similarities between the two, but they also have differences that make them unique in their own ways.

If you have great enthusiasm for business and operations, you may be wondering which term is suitable for you.

Different factors play a part in distinguishing both roles, and knowing about them will help you understand the concept clearly.

To help you get a deeper grasp of the two, we have outlined a few must-knows on the difference between entrepreneur and intrapreneur.

This way, you can easily distinguish the things that mark each role. 

Difference Between Entrepreneur and Intrapreneur 

When you understand the concept of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship on a more profound and comprehensive level, you become apt to play the role more effectively.

Today, we’ll look at the differences that set them apart and make them uniquely perfect for growing a business.

What Is an Entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is someone who dives full-on into creating a business through dynamic processes.

As such, he is accountable for all the risks and losses that the business may encounter along the way.

This person operates the business while aiming to get rewards and returns from selling products or services.

When you look at the business as a whole, the entrepreneur is responsible for driving and creating visions for it.

Therefore, all business initiatives, actions, and strategies are decided by him.

What Is an Intrapreneur?

When we speak of an intrapreneur, we are talking about someone who is a part of an organization.

Basically, he is paid to execute strategies and activities within the company's limit.

The role can fall from the position of an intern up to the person next to the owner of the company.

An intrapreneur has the authority to create ideas and innovations on how services and products are handled from creation to disposal.

However, in terms of accountability and losses, an intrapreneur is not the one to take them because they directly hit the business or the owner.

Entrepreneur vs Intrapreneur: What Sets Them Apart?

If there is one thing we can relate to about the two, it is that they are geared towards the business's success as a whole.

The difference between entrepreneur and intrapreneur lies in the many factors and limitations that they are bound in.

To help you understand better, we will be tackling them one by one.

Investment Side

Since the entrepreneur is the owner of the company, it is his responsibility to raise funds so that the business can operate continuously.

This means taking care of capital, operational, and other expenses necessary to keep the business running or financing new business ventures.

On the other hand, an intrapreneur has no responsibility in raising capital or putting in investment for the business to operate or for products to be made.

The intrapreneur will not shoulder any expense or any monetary resource needed for the business's endeavors.

Enterprise and Vision

In terms of enterprise, the entrepreneur creates and establishes the business organization.

On the other hand, the intrapreneur enters the business to become a part of it.

For instance, he could be an employee or an intern responsible for driving product and service innovation.

When an entrepreneur sets a vision, he makes sure that he prioritizes his work, services, and products with good social and economic value.

In contrast, to that of an intrapreneur, the concern would be to keep the business enterprise thriving and sustained in the marketplace.

Risks and Liability

The entrepreneur is always the person to take in all the risks and liabilities of the business.

With 100 percent investment, any loss, expense, or accountability is managed by the entrepreneur alone.

In comparison, an intrapreneur is only liable for the areas covered by his role.

Still, these rarely come in monetary form or have anything to do with the business's standing in the market.

Moreover, these are usually minor ones, as the significant risks concerning the business as a whole are beyond his pay grade.

what is the difference between entrepreneur and intrapreneur

Dependency and Freedom

An entrepreneur has complete autonomy and independence.

There is no superior or boss to answer to because he is free to do whatever he wants for his business.

However, his actions are dependent on what the business enterprise needs.

On the flip side, the intrapreneur is entirely dependent on the entrepreneur.

He has the authority to innovate and direct efforts to improve processes concerning products and services.

However, his directives and actions will come from the entrepreneur and fall under the limitations of the company's policies.

Behavior, Traits, and Creativity

Both roles are similar in terms of professionalism, creativity, discipline, and innovativeness.

As a result, each will want to read materials that can help improve their craft and find tools and steps they need to take in their money-making ventures.

An entrepreneur will always think outside the box and demonstrate aggressiveness, flexibility, speed, and adaptability.

There are no limits to an entrepreneur's creativity, as opposed to an intrapreneur, which is limited to the confines of the organization.

The intrapreneur will be concerned more with leadership, professionalism, and entrepreneurship. 

Time and Resources

The entrepreneur's duties have no limitations, as networking and building the business can be done anytime.

The intrapreneur will be operating on a timetable that the company has set, usually in shifts.

In terms of resources, the entrepreneur has to fund or invest in having resources to utilize.

These resources then become the intrapreneur's primary source for executing tasks and actions during the operations.


You may be wondering about the difference in how both roles define success.

An entrepreneur will be driven and motivated by the thought of being in control and having the ability to take risks and make decisions.

He is also inspired by the possibility of hitting milestones and gaining achievements of the business.

Meanwhile, the intrapreneur will be driven by the acknowledgment of the entrepreneur for his work and contributions that lead to the enterprise's success.

Incentives and rewards such as promotions, bonuses, voice, and authority can serve as the driving and motivating force for this role.

Approach to Problems

Believe it or not, entrepreneurs see problems differently.

They see problems as a starting point in creating the concept of new products and services.

It is a fact that the things we consider as iconic products and services are those that solve an immediate need or a problem. 

The presence of a problem is different for an intrapreneur, as this is often a signal of a threat to the enterprise.

Therefore, the intrapreneur's main action would be to straighten out kinks and resolve the problem to have no collateral damage in the works.


An entrepreneur will hold complete control of all the decisions to be taken.

Thus, there will be flexibility and no limitations as to what an entrepreneur can decide to do. 

As for the intrapreneur, all the decisions will be entirely reliant on the entrepreneur's decision.

He can make decisions concerning product innovations and operations only if the entrepreneur permits it.


Being an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur requires dedication, professionalism, creativity, and other core values.

While both roles have significant differences involving various factors, both the entrepreneur and intrapreneur play an essential role in the business. 

If you are aspiring to assume one of these roles, now is an excellent time to decide which role is the more suitable to you.

It is always good to start investing early in the knowledge, tools, and skills essential to be successful in it.

About the Author Ramesh Dontha

I am an entrepreneur, writer, and blogger. I build businesses and love to share my experiences of my successes and failures. My mottos is: Live with purpose, Be Passionate about that purpose, Persevere through ups and downs and keep exploring Possibilities.

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