Traditionally, the definition of entrepreneurship has been limited to: starting a new business, scaling for profit and creating business capital. For outside-of-the-box thinkers, that definition was quite narrow. It leaves out the idea that entrepreneurship is a way of thinking. It’s a mindset that is opportunity obsessed, holistic in approach and leadership balanced. This new definition of entrepreneurship is about innovation; about seeing problems as opportunities, and about changing the world.
To bring this new entrepreneurship definition to life, we took a look at some of the world’s top leaders and innovators, how they helped reshape the entrepreneurship definition.
The desire to create something that will forever change the customer experience—that rests at the very center of an entrepreneur’s soul. Entrepreneurs are driven with the passion to change the way the world views and uses products.
Steve Jobs was the epitome of this.
Apple Inc. started with the passion to build a better computer. In 1976, the company released Apple Computer 1. Then the following year, the Apple II—the first commercially available personalized computer—made its debut. The Macintosh followed after that. Then iTunes … and the list goes on.
Every product had its course of ups and downs. But, Jobs’ passion and dedication never wavered. Like many tech giants, his ability to foresee an opportunity brought about a social change that made an impact on the entrepreneurial revolution.
Another example of an opportunity-obsessed entrepreneur: Babson Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs® member Sheila Lirio Marcelo, founder of Care.com. She launched the website in 2007 when she was having a hard time finding someone to care for her first child. The website is designed to help customers find babysitters, tutors, pet care, and senior care. It also helps people find job opportunities in their area by posting a profile for free and applying for openings.
Today, Marcelo’s company is known as the world’s largest online marketing place for finding and managing family care.
The traditional definition of entrepreneurship was mainly focused on generating business capital. In today’s economic climate, the entrepreneurship definition has evolved to include the notion of transforming the world. Some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs didn’t earn notoriety and financial freedom from merely advising their operations. They were involved from the very beginning of their business venture.
Steve Jobs famously worked from his parents’ garage.
TripAdvisor founder Stephen Kaufer started his endeavor with a basic website. It has since expanded to include 25 travel brands.
Sara Blakely, founder and CEO of SPANX Inc., known for revolutionizing the way women wear undergarments, worked from her apartment to market her product.
These entrepreneurs (and many more) seized opportunities, gathered resources, and built teams to capitalize on their idea.
New and inventive products, computer programs, and brick and mortars can last beyond the life of those who invented them. And, the inventors will forever be remembered as those who raised the bar. Who dared to think beyond what was in front of them and who inspired others to do the same. Beyond creating unforgettable products, the final element that comes with entrepreneurship is leadership.
Babson alumnus Arthur Blank ’63, H’98, who co-founded Home Depot Inc., said, “The destination of the entrepreneurial spirit is innovation fueled by creativity and speed.” After 23 years, the founder of the home improvement store stepped down to focus on other pursuits. One of which was the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Since its founding in 1995, the Blank Family Foundation has contributed more than $300 million to organizations working in education, early childhood development, the environment, and the arts. The owner of the Atlanta Falcons football team says, “The expression we’ve always used is that there are two Super Bowls every year. The first is the one that you traditionally play on the field. The other is the Super Bowl of life. We want to win that one every year.”
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