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A Stipulative Definition of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a social process of venturing aimed at creating value and involving activities such as opportunity identification or creation, innovation, developing exploitation strategies, business formation, marshalling resources, and execution & adaptation of strategies, which are typically performed in progressive stages.

The terms entrepreneur and entrepreneurship have developed a proliferation of meanings which vary among groups of lay persons, the media, experienced & expert practitioners, and academics – and even within each of those groups. The moniker ‘entrepreneur’ has developed a certain cachet over the last few decades and presently it seems like many small business owners want to tag themselves with it. As an extreme example, the activities, risks, uncertainties, and potential for value creation faced by a Tim Donut franchisee have little in common with those tackled by the likes of Gates, Jobs & Wozniak, and Musk. As well, the rise in popularity of entrepreneurship over the same period has spawned a multitude of course and even programs in entrepreneurship in the business schools of most universities in the ‘Western’ world. But, if everyone is an entrepreneur, or every start-up is considered entrepreneurship, the meaning of the phenomenon loses its distinctiveness, focal importance, and research allure.

The purpose of this paper is twofold:
1. To develop a relevant meaning of entrepreneurship for my PhD dissertation titled ‘The Importance of the Entrepreneurial Chief Financial Officer in New Venture Investing’; I judged this to be necessary because entrepreneurship has an acknowledged importance to national economies, and the plethora of definitions available in various media; and …
2. To share my thoughts on the meaning of entrepreneurship with the broader entrepreneurship research community, after due consideration of extant literature informing the notion of entrepreneurship.
This paper is lengthy because it establishes a context for a definition relevant to my research and makes a rational argument for its construction by building on certain popular definitions in extant literature.

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