Your Guide to Successful Corporate Entrepreneurship (2023)

Corporate entrepreneurship is not a new concept, but it is one that is beginning to gain momentum and be seen as a resolution to common organisational and competitor challenges.

In recent years, large corporations have come under increasing pressure from brand new agile companies who harness innovation to exploit market opportunities, gain significant market share and edge ahead of long established competitors.

We need look no further than Netflix for an example. Netflix began by mailing out copies of DVDs to select groups of people - a business model which the likes of Blockbuster never expected to face competition from. That all changed once Netflix made a profit, was able to pivot, and began streaming its movies online. Blockbuster were blindsided, failed to adapt and innovate in time, and subsequently not only lost their share of the market but their entire corporation.

This is where corporate entrepreneurship is capable of making the difference. Large companies are able to leverage the behaviour of a startup by giving employees the freedom to proactively develop new ideas and strategies that the business can use to adapt, innovate and thrive.

But what does corporate entrepreneurship mean, and how can your organisation adopt it? In this blog we’ll define corporate entrepreneurship and its importance, plus provide you with four ways to transform your employees into corporate entrepreneurs.

What is Corporate Entrepreneurship?

Corporate entrepreneurship, also referred to as intrapreneurship, is a concept whereby employees are encouraged and supported to behave and think like entrepreneurs within the structure of their existing organisation.

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Employees who possess the right skill sets and have innovative visions are actively encouraged to develop new ideas and identify new market opportunities. Eventually this entrepreneurial process should result in new business deliverables like new products, services or even new arms of the business.

Ultimately the goal of any corporate entrepreneurship is to develop ideas which are disruptive to the market and competitors, as opposed to focusing on smaller organisational changes. The projects must also be led and developed by select employees, instead of pressed upon by managers.

What is the importance of Corporate Entrepreneurship?

The importance of corporate entrepreneurship lies in its ability to completely innovate a company, which protects it against things like stagnation and loss of market share.

Large corporations especially are at risk of unsuccessfully innovating or adapting because of their ingrained (and sometimes archaic) organisational structures, bureaucracies and cultures. Adopting a concept such as corporate entrepreneurship provides the company with a systematic way to innovate, and that innovation itself then provides significant benefits.

Significant benefits of corporate entrepreneurship include:

Surges in growth

Successful corporate entrepreneurship results in a consistently innovative stream of new ideas, which deliver new products and services, and in turn leads to boosts in both revenue and organisational growth.

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Increases in employee morale and productivity

Corporate entrepreneurship schemes engage employees, giving them freedom and self-expression to immerse themselves in new opportunities. This boosts their confidence, enhances their skillsets, and most importantly because employees feel valued and motivated, increases their productivity.

Read our recommended five employee engagement strategies your business needs here.

Competitive advantage

Competitor analysis is all well and good, but did you know that your best sources of competitor analysis, and therefore, advantage, are right under your nose? Yes, we’re talking about your employees! Employees are naturally able to identify opportunities and threats within the market because they may talk to former employees, have good relationships with clients who pass on information, or may even be contacted by recruiters who unknowingly pass on vital information about rival companies.

Increased employee recruitment and retention

By involving employees in the direction of the business raises job satisfaction levels because employees feel included and trusted. This results in much lower levels of staff turnover because employees are invested in the company. Corporate entrepreneurship opportunities may also attract other talented, entrepreneurially minded employees who would relish the challenges to disrupt and innovate markets.

What are the characteristics of a corporate entrepreneur?

One thing that’s important to mention is that businesses do not create corporate entrepreneurs. Just like those with growth mindsets: They’re already present.

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What businesses must do is identify their corporate entrepreneurs, and then actively encourage and support them.

To identify the right candidates, you need to look for the right characteristics. Corporate entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and abilities but they tend to share the following traits:

Courageous and confident: Corporate entrepreneurs are often willing to challenge the status quo, look at things from different angles, and suggest new ideas. They’ll also possess the confidence to take risks in order to try new things, or learn from mistakes.

Curious and open minded: Corporate entrepreneurs are curious about everything. If you hear an employee asking “Why is Product X like this?” Or “What can we do to improve the Y aspect of product Z?” you’ve probably found the correct mindset.

Not driven by financial motives: Corporate entrepreneurs rarely pursue financial motivations. Instead they’re just openly passionate about transformation, challenge and innovation. They also may care openly for the business’s consumers, so will look for ways to benefit lives.

Resilient: Corporate entrepreneurs know that not every idea is a winning idea, but they see failures as lessons to learn from and improve the next time.

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What are the four key elements of successful corporate entrepreneurship?

In the book Corporate Entrepreneurship by Professor Veronique Bouchard and Alain Fayolle, both business specialists identified four key elements involved in implementing successful corporate entrepreneurship schemes.

They are:

1.Decentralised management structures

Corporations that wish to harness a culture of corporate entrepreneurship should have flat management structures. According to Professor Bouchard, flat management structures “foster entrepreneurial environments” by removing multiple management levels and lines of reporting which slows down the instant decision making needed in innovative thinking.

2.Formal project processes

Formal project processes don’t need to be comprehensive - they just need to be succinct and in place. Should a new project be given the go ahead its development must be supported with company resources, time and money.

3.Open communication

Businesses must encourage and facilitate open lines of communication between departments if innovative projects are to get off the ground. Successful collaboration is borne from open communication, and so workshops should be held regularly to allow for the exchanging of ideas which could provide entrepreneurial breakthroughs.

4.Risk taking opportunities

Corporate entrepreneurs can only flourish in a company where risk taking is accessible, encouraged and supported. To implement a risk taking culture businesses can identify team leaders (such as those with growth mindsets) to embody the entrepreneurial line of thinking and promote risk taking as a path to creativity and innovation.

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Are you ready to implement corporate entrepreneurship?

Corporate entrepreneurship is vital for the continued success of large corporations, especially as new ways to enter markets become more accessible for start up businesses and SMEs.

At Growth Idea, we help businesses of all shapes, structures and sizes to continue to grow by working with the business to implement proven growth methodologies which reap success. To learn more, read all about our High Performance Executive Board Growth Programme, or contact us today to receive your free strategy review.


What are the 4 key elements of corporate entrepreneurship? ›

Opportunist, enabler, advocate and producer are the four models of corporate entrepreneurship that Robert C. Wolcott and Michael J.

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21key factors of CE have been identified, which are discussed under five categories: autonomy, competitive aggressiveness, innovativeness, proactiveness and risk taking. All these key factors are found to be related to one another and hence have to be managed as a system for successful CE. Keywords: Contractors.

What are the steps of corporate entrepreneurship? ›

This process has four distinct phases: (1) identification and evaluation of the opportunity, (2) development of the business plan, (3) determination of the required resources, and (4) management of the resulting enterprise (see Figure 3.1).

What are the five components of corporate entrepreneurship? ›

Out of the five (5) dimensions of corporate entrepreneurship (work discretion, reward reinforcement, organizational boundaries, and management support and time availability) mentioned, their study showed that only three had a significant relationship with business performance.

What are the 3 C's of entrepreneurship? ›

The entrepreneurial mindset consists of three key elements: Curiosity, Connections, and Creating Value—the 3C's. This emergent understanding came from years of work with KEEN faculty, students, and industry.

What are the 3 C's key factors to successful entrepreneurship? ›

I previously highlighted curiosity, creativity and commitment as individual characteristics, each with its own power to fuel the entrepreneurial mind. Instead, it may be the interaction between these characteristics that captures true entrepreneurial success.

What are the 5 key success factors for a successful business? ›

The five critical success factors are strategic focus, people, operations, marketing, and finances.

What are the 4 C's of entrepreneurship? ›

In our conversation with Greg, these four C's really resonated with me: Curiosity, Commitment, Creativity, and Confidence.

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  • Research new products and services. ...
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What are the 3 basic corporate strategies? ›

Corporate leaders typically pursue one of three corporate-level strategies for leading their companies: stability strategies, growth strategies, or retrenchment strategies.

What are the 7 corporate level strategies? ›


In this unit we are going to discuss Corporate Level Strategies like Expansion Strategies, Stability Strategies, Retrenchment Strategies, Combination Strategies, Concentration strategies, Integration strategies, Horizontal Integration and Vertical Integration.

What are the 5 corporate level strategies? ›

Types of corporate-level strategy
  • Stability strategy. The stability strategy is when you proceed in working with clients in your industry. ...
  • Expansion strategy. ...
  • Retrenchment strategy. ...
  • Combination strategy. ...
  • Diversification. ...
  • Forward or backward integration. ...
  • Horizontal integration. ...
  • Profit.
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What are the 10 principles of entrepreneurship? ›

Being a good listener and having emotional stability goes a long way in achieving this.
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  • You Are Only As Good As The People Around You. ...
  • Build a Winning Culture. ...
  • Define the Key Metric That Matters the Most. ...
  • Accurately Assess Capital Requirements. ...
  • Use the Right Incentives. ...
  • Have Deep Empathy.
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What are the 11 important entrepreneurial competencies? ›

Core competencies in entrepreneurship
  • Risk-taking abilities.
  • Out-of-the-box thinking and creativity.
  • Problem-solving abilities.
  • Taking initiative.
  • Persistence.
  • Persuasion and social skills.
  • Business management skills.
  • Critical thinking skills.

What is the 5 entrepreneurial mindset? ›

In any mindset, there are five dimensions: self-efficacy, locus of control, beliefs about our capabilities, motivation, and level of resilience.

What makes a good entrepreneur? ›

Passion, resourcefulness, willingness to improvise and listen to others and strong determination to succeed is what makes an entrepreneur successful. And this is what you have to keep in mind as well if you want to be a successful entrepreneur yourself.

What are the five important factors that motivate an entrepreneur? ›

7 Reasons People Become Entrepreneurs
  • Reason 1: Achievement, Challenge, & Learning. ...
  • Reason 2: Independence & Autonomy. ...
  • Reason 3: Income Security and Financial Success. ...
  • Reason 4: Recognition and Status. ...
  • Reason 5: Family. ...
  • Reason 6: Dissatisfaction with Current Work Arrangements. ...
  • Reason 7: Community and Social Motivation.
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What are the 13 tips for successful business? ›

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  • Put your employees first. ...
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  • Get organized.
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What are 3 important keys to success? ›

Irrespective of what “Success” means to each, what has been clearly understood that there are three key elements of success. They are - Clarity of Purpose, Growth Mindset, and Courage. Without purpose, it is hard to have a clear direction. It is important to know what you want and what you are striving for.

What are the top 10 success factors? ›

10 key factors to success
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  2. Prioritising your goals. ...
  3. Acquiring relevant education and skills. ...
  4. Cultivating good habits. ...
  5. Having a positive attitude. ...
  6. Learning from your mistakes. ...
  7. Being open to new things. ...
  8. Taking risks.
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What is the 4 gate model of entrepreneurship? ›

The unique book about entrepreneurship and innovation, has the 4-Gate Model of Prosperity: the need for Preparation, Marketing, Execution and Self-Leadership.

What are the 10 secrets of successful entrepreneurs? ›

Based on Reznick's years of experience helping businesses grow from the inside, here are 10 secrets of successful entrepreneurs for achieving growth even in a poor economy:
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  • Check your ego. ...
  • Remember your first fans. ...
  • Share your knowledge. ...
  • Hire someone to watch your money. ...
  • Know when to persevere.
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What are the seven 7 tips for success? ›

Seven Steps to Success
  • Seven Steps to Success. There is a powerful seven-step formula that you can use to set and achieve your goals for the rest of your life. ...
  • Decide What You Want. ...
  • Write it Down. ...
  • Set a Deadline. ...
  • Make a List. ...
  • Organize Your List. ...
  • Take Action. ...
  • Do Something Every Day.

What is the key to success in entrepreneurship? ›

Responsibility, mindset and passion are the three secrets to entrepreneurial success. Embrace them and you will find the success you're looking for.

What determines the success of corporate strategy? ›

The key to corporate success is the company's ability to identify the important needs of each of these groups, to establish some balance among them, and to work out a set of operating policies which permits their satisfaction. This set of policies, as a pattern, identifies what the company is trying to be.

What are the 7 keys of entrepreneurship? ›

7 Keys to a Successful Entrepreneurship
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  • Know Your Market. ...
  • Have A Financing Plan. ...
  • Communicate Well. ...
  • Focus On Sales. ...
  • Stay Flexible. ...
  • Manage Stress.
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What are the 5 keys to success? ›

Not being afraid to make mistakes or to try something new.
  • attempting hard work independently.
  • sharing a new idea with the class.
  • taking a risk.

What are the 7 strategies for success are? ›

7 Strategies for Success
  • Get to know yourself as a thinker and learner. ...
  • Set a personal goal for each course. ...
  • Manage your time and your attention. ...
  • Think like a professor. ...
  • Review your notes as soon as possible after class.

What are the 4 key factors for competitive success? ›

What Are the Key Planning Factors for Competitive Success in...
  • Knowing Customer Needs. ...
  • Understanding Competitors' Strengths and Weaknesses. ...
  • Finding Markets That Are Large or Growing.
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