Key Differences Between Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship

by Ihsan Dantata
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A question that often arises in the business world is the key differences between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship? These two terms share similar features but are different.

When starting a business, you must take a step back and examine these two terms. Knowing the key differences between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship will help you understand these two terms and decide which path to follow.


Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs work together to grow a business

This article will highlight the key differences between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship and shed light on their similarities. It will also touch on some aspects of entrepreneurship in Nigeria and intrapreneurship in Nigeria.

What is Entrepreneurship?


Entrepreneurship comes with risks

According to the Oxford dictionary, an entrepreneur is “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” Entrepreneurship means starting a business and taking on everything that comes with it, including risks and rewards. Merriam – Webster Dictionary defines entrepreneurship as “the act or process of starting a business or organisation.”

Entrepreneurship in Nigeria

Entrepreneurship in Nigeria started way back before the colonial masters came to Nigeria. It started when there was a surplus of goods produced by Nigerians. Therefore, people started exchanging the goods they had produced with what they needed (a farm produce for meat), which gave birth to entrepreneurship in Nigeria. The Nigerian economy saw a boost through these activities until the colonial masters came and changed everything.

After independence, the Nigerian government tried to revive entrepreneurship in Nigeria by establishing organisations like the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC), to mention a few.

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What is Intrapreneurship?

An intrapreneur is an employee in an organisation with entrepreneurial skills. Therefore, intrapreneurship is the process by which an employee of an organisation employs the skills of an entrepreneur. 

Intrapreneurship in Nigeria

There is not much to say about intrapreneurship in Nigeria as it is almost non – existent especially in government agencies. The work environment does not promote innovation. Thus, employees are stuck with what the organisations give them to work with. It is like an “either my way or the highway” situation, with no room for new ideas. To improve the state of intrapreneurship in Nigeria, organisations need to shift from the norm of stagnant working environments to one that will introduce and allow innovations for the betterment of all.

Similarities between Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship

As mentioned earlier, even though there are key differences between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, these terms have some similarities.



The entrepreneur is the leader in the business

 An entrepreneur and an intrapreneur need to possess leadership skills for a positive outcome. The success of a project or idea depends on all team members. Therefore, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs need to have an open communication channel, feedback, and motivation with each team member.



Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs must be innovative

 Having a business is all about growth (and profit-making). Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs must be innovative and allow room for innovation to succeed. You must be creative and innovative to have your company at the helm. Be on the watch out for innovations, be it technology or otherwise, and build on them to help you grow.



Adaptability attracts success

 We may plan with the best ideas, but our plans do not necessarily mean success. Even with the best of plans and ideas in place, sometimes one might encounter barriers that will hinder the success of a project. Both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs must possess the skill of adapting to situations such barriers might bring.

Read Also: How to Overcome the Fear of Failure as an Entrepreneur 

The Key Differences between Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship

Primary Motive

One difference between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship is the primary motive. An entrepreneur’s motives are innovation, financial gain, and independence. At the same time, an intrapreneur aims to increase the revenues and profits of the organisation they work for by making changes to the company and its operations.



Risk is a feature of business

Another difference between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship is the risk involved. Entrepreneurship is a risk-taking concept since nothing is certain, and this uncertainty means risk. The risk may end a business; the entrepreneur bears the risk and takes the necessary steps to find solutions.



Rewards and Recognition

The entrepreneur gets the larger part of the business’ profit and gets recognition for hitting milestones as opposed to an intrapreneur who may or may not be recognised for making a profit. The company might give him a small percentage, but the entrepreneur and company get the recognition.

Capital and Resources


Capital and Resource

The capital and resources in entrepreneurship are raised solely by the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is responsible for raising funds and hiring intrapreneurs; they take the risk to provide capital and resources.

 The company provides the intrapreneur with all the resources needed for an ongoing project. Therefore, the skills of the intrapreneur are the only vital contribution to the business or company. 


In entrepreneurship, the entrepreneur is the sole decision-maker. The entrepreneur is the brain of the business. They make the decisions that ensure the growth of the business, while in intrapreneurship, there is collaborative decision-making. The intrapreneur suggests ideas to the entrepreneur, and the idea is either accepted or rejected.

Read Also: How Entrepreneurs Can Develop Networking Skills for Business Growth


An entrepreneur is responsible for all tasks. They oversee day-to-day activities or might appoint someone to lead, but the entrepreneur is responsible for the tasks to make a profit for the business. At the same time, an intrapreneur is responsible for some specific tasks. The intrapreneur is assigned specific functions to ensure the growth of the company. 



The entrepreneur is the boss of the organization

In entrepreneurship, the entrepreneur is the boss; they own the business. The entrepreneur answers to nobody; they employ intrapreneurs to achieve the company’s goals. In contrast, an intrapreneur is an employee of the company who receives wages at the end of the month based on an agreement with the entrepreneur. 

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So, what can we say is the key difference between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship? The entrepreneur and the intrapreneur share similar traits such as leadership, adaptability, and innovation, but they are different in many ways. Entrepreneurs are driven by the need to create something new.

At the same time, intrapreneurs aim to improve an already existing business/product. While entrepreneurs are the main drivers in an organisation, from raising capital, providing resources, taking risks, and making sole decisions. Intrapreneurs are dependent on entrepreneurs/the organisation to provide them with all the necessities. 

These key differences between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship can guide deciding whether to venture into entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship. 

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About Author

Avatar of Ihsan Dantata
Ihsan Dantata
My name is Ihsan Dantata. I have a bachelor's degree in Information Technology and a master's degree in Information Technology management.
I love to read! I've had a passion for reading books since I was young, which has continued into my adult years.
Currently, I am a hands-on homemaker with a side hustle making the best salads and drinks.

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