Who is an Intrapreneur? – Entrepreneurship

Who is an Intrapreneur? – Entrepreneurship

Today, organisations, in a quest to engage/retain their star performers are providing them with a platform to hone their entrepreneurial skills. ‘Intrapreneurship’ – the latest buzzword in India Inc has started gaining momentum, discovers Vinnie Bhadra

The Indian economy has seen a rise in the number of entrepreneurs in recent years and many young professionals prefer to be independent. Millions proudly claim the title of entrepreneur but on the other hand, a title that hasn’t had the attention it deserves is that of an ‘intrapreneur’. 

An employee who is given the financial support and resources to create new products, services and systems, is called an intrapreneur. Some of the greatest business leaders of the past made their early mark in business as intrapreneurs. Former General Electric chairman Jack Welch made a name for himself by building GE’s engineering plastics business as if he were starting his own company. Lew Lehr, former chairman of 3M, similarly built his career on his intrapreneurial pursuit of 3M’s expansion into the healthcare industry. “With the information age making its way into corporations, the business expanding in many different ways, it is realised that the command and control policy that was earlier the foundation on which the organisations thrived, was slowly crumbling. And with it, it was taking the very soul of the company – the employees. In this knowledge economy, employees have emerged as the differentiating factor for the success of organisations,” says Anand Pillai, senior VP and global head, talent transformation, intrapreneurship development and EFCS transformation initiatives, HCL.

Most progressive organisations view intrapreneurship as a way to develop and retain the best manpower they have and provide an entrepreneurial atmosphere within the organisation itself. “The competitive nature of the business drives the intrapreneurial culture and the pace of business has multiplied as well – with growth opportunities available and a market size that is expanding. Also, Indian companies have started empowering people in the lower levels where true innovation can occur,” says Anurag Jain, VP, services delivery, Dell Services. Three-dimensional thinking, persistence, good communication skills, team management and networking abilities are key traits, says Jain. Thus, consider it to be an HR tool or an innovation tactic, intrapreneurship as a concept is here to stay and has made many friends already!

Intrapreneurship will pave the way forward, says Bhavin Turakhia, CEO, Directi:

1. Organisations need to make sure people are not afraid to fail. This fear will kill any and all possible innovation;
2. Ask employees to openly discuss what they think your company does well and where improvements can be made. Have them talk about what changes they would make, then try to implement these changes as soon as possible;
3. Create an in-house venture capital pool. Have people submit ideas and plans to it;
4. Allow people to have some time to have fun. This is the type of environment where people will want to work and wherein they will be able to flourish.


  1. Senior management commitment; 
  2. Investment roadmap consistent with corporate and business strategy; 
  3.  Flexibility for reactive and opportunistic option creation; 
  4.  Institutionalised tool for growth and innovation; 
  5.  Talent retention and continuity.

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