Entrepreneurs act as managers and oversee the launch and growth of an enterprise. Entrepreneurship is the process by which either an individual or a team identifies a business opportunity and acquires and deploys the necessary resources required for its exploitation. The exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities may include:
Joseph Schumpeter (1883–1950) saw the role of the entrepreneur in the economy as "
creative destruction" – launching innovations that simultaneously destroy old industries while ushering in new industries and approaches. For Schumpeter, the changes and "dynamic
disequilibrium brought on by the innovating entrepreneur [were] the norm of a healthy
While entrepreneurship is often associated with new, small, for-profit start-ups, entrepreneurial behavior can be seen in small-, medium- and large-sized firms, new and established firms and in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including voluntary-sector groups,
charitable organizations and
Entrepreneurship may operate within an
entrepreneurship ecosystem which often includes:
- Government programs and services that promote entrepreneurship and support entrepreneurs and start-ups
- Non-governmental organizations such as small-business associations and organizations that offer advice and mentoring to entrepreneurs (e.g. through entrepreneurship centers or websites)
advocacy organizations that lobby governments for increased support for entrepreneurship programs and more small business-friendly laws and regulations
- Entrepreneurship resources and facilities (e.g.
business incubators and
- Entrepreneurship education and training programs offered by schools, colleges and universities
- Financing (e.g. bank loans,
venture capital financing,
angel investing and government and private foundation grants)
In the 2000s, the definition of "entrepreneurship" expanded to explain how and why some individuals (or teams) identify opportunities, evaluate them as viable and then decide to exploit them, whereas others do not
 and in turn how entrepreneurs use these opportunities to develop new products or services, launch new firms or even new industries and create
 The entrepreneurial process is fundamentally uncertain because opportunities cannot be discovered or identified prior to their actualization into profits.
 What appears as a real opportunity ex-ante might actually be a non-opportunity or one that cannot be actualized by entrepreneurs lacking the necessary business skills, financial or social capital.
Entrepreneurs tend to be good at perceiving new
business opportunities and they often exhibit positive
biases in their perception (i.e. a bias towards finding new possibilities and seeing unmet market needs) and a tendency towards risk-taking that makes them more likely to exploit the opportunity.
 An entrepreneur may be in control of a commercial undertaking, directing the
factors of production – the
financial and material resources – that are required to exploit a business opportunity.