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(än'trəprənûr`) [Fr.,=one who undertakes], person who assumes the organization, management, and risks of a business enterprise. It was first used as a technical economic term by the 18th-century economist Richard Cantillon. To the classical economist of the late 18th cent. the term meant an employer in the character of one who assumes the risk and management of business; an undertaker of economic enterprises, in contrast to the ordinary capitalist, who, strictly speaking, merely owns an enterprise and may choose to take no part in its day-to-day operation. In practice, entrepreneurs were not differentiated from regular capitalists until the 19th cent., when their function developed into that of coordinators of processes necessary to large-scale industry and trade. Joseph Schumpeter and other 20th-century economists considered the entrepreneur's competitive drive for innovation and improvement to have been the motive force behind capitalist development. Richard Arkwright in England and William Cockerill on the Continent were prominent examples of the rising class of entrepreneurial manufacturers during the Industrial Revolution. Henry Ford was a 20th-century American example. The entrepreneur's functions and importance have declined with the growth of the corporationcorporation,
in law, organization enjoying legal personality for the purpose of carrying on certain activities. Most corporations are businesses for profit; they are usually organized by three or more subscribers who raise capital for the corporate activities by selling shares
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See J. Schumpeter, The Theory of Economic Development (1934); J. W. Gough, The Rise of the Entrepreneur (1969); O. F. Collins, The Organization Makers (1970).


any owner of capital who is engaged in the management of an enterprise for the sale of goods or services for profit. Classical economics focused on entrepreneurial activity as a factor of production in which risk taking was the key attribute of the entrepreneur. Classical microeconomic theory of the firm also assumed the existence of an individual entrepreneur as the basis for decision making in terms of profit maximization. In contrast, sociological study of entrepreneurs has been concerned in particular with their position within the class structure, their values and their relations to other class groupings (see also MIDDLE CLASS). Features of entrepreneurship variously include: values of independence, innovation, competition and a belief in enterprise and profit making (see also PROTESTANT ETHIC, ENTERPRISE CULTURE). Recent organizational research has identified the phenomenon of intrapreneurship: the development of entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviour of employees within the enterprise.

Empirical research into entrepreneurs has indicated that they do not comprise a homogeneous category, but include the self-employed, small employers, owner-controllers and owner-directors (Scase and Goffe, 1982). Sociological analysis of the self-employed – small proprietors, artisans and tradespeople – has occupied a problematic place in the study of the changing class structure of capitalist societies in terms of their position between large-scale capital and the working class (see PETTY BOURGEOISIE). Interest in the self-employed has been renewed recently with the proliferation of small businesses and research into the INFORMAL ECONOMY. The class position of owner-controllers and owner-directors has figured prominently in the analysis of the separation of ownership from control, and of the RULING CLASS in advanced capitalist societies. See also MANAGERIAL REVOLUTION, POSTCAPITALISM AND POSTCAPITALIST SOCIETY.

References in periodicals archive ?
The prosecution said that the managers wrote a Dh150,000 cheque in the name of the company owner, who offered the accountant of the auditing company Dh50,000 as the first tranche or 'installment' of the bribe.
The company owner claimed to prosecutors that the incident happened after he had won two rent disputes against T.
COMPANY owners in Coventry and Warwickshire have been urged to 'let go' of some of the small matters in running a business.
Also of primary importance to the construction company owner is the fact that this bonus depreciation allowance is allowed for Alternative Minimum Tax purposes.
Ian Harpin, 23, biscuit packer, Low Fell, Gateshead; Andrew Kirby, 32, cleaning company owner, Killing-worth; Warren Delicate, 22, customer services assistant, Heaton; Geoff Wilson, 45, chef, Fenham, Newcastle; Michael Watson, 32, chef, Cruddas Park, Newcastle; Ben Brown, 19, student, Jesmond, Newcastle
While it is possible to arrange a meeting with an actual Congressperson (and these will average about seven minutes, Vance notes), company owners should not be discouraged about meeting with a staff member.
Revision: To clarify its intent, PEEC replaced the term competence with the phrase suitable skill, knowledge, and/or experience throughout the interpretation and substituted for the term (client) employee the word individual to make it clear that the person the client designates to oversee the service could be the company owner or an external party--such as a bookkeeper or controller, where those functions are outsourced.
Purchased for about $250,000 in the mid-1970s, the ranch was home to late trucking company owner Sam Smiser's pack of up to 30 signature mules.
How much money can a company owner expect to earn from a remodeling business?
When video game company owner Jay Minn moved to San Francisco from South Korea as a boy, American cartoons seemed dire compared with the anime he'd watched back home.
Mototeru Ishibashi, deputy chief of the office, said, ''It is difficult to submit supplementary evidence as the company owner has already died,'' referring to the accomplice, whose testimony was ruled unreliable by the court at the retrial.
The Supreme Court in 1985 upheld a 16-year prison term given to Kim by the Fukuoka court for conspiring with a company owner and smuggling 4 kilograms of stimulant drugs from South Korea in October 1980 and June 1981, and for injuring a man who served as a carrier of the drugs.