The word “entrepreneur” is derived from a French word “entre” that was originally used to refer to leaders of military expeditions. Early entrepreneurs provided men and materials needed by feudal lords to wage wars. Entrepreneurship refers to a skill or ability to mobilise the factors of production, i.e. land, labour, capital and ability to use them to produce new good and services. The entrepreneurial function may be performed by a single individual or a sole proprietor, or by several individuals’ i.e., partners and companies.
Various authors have given various definitions on entrepreneurship. It is the knack for sensing an opportunity where others see chaos, contradiction and confusion. It is the know-how to find, marshal and control resources and to make sure the venture does not run out of money when it is needed the most.
According to J.A Timmons: Entrepreneurship is the ability to create and build something from practically nothing. Fundamentally, a human creative ability, it is finding personal energy by initiating, building and achieving an enterprise or organisation rather then by just watching, analysing or describing one. It requires the ability to take calculated risk and reduces the chance of failure. It is the ability to build a founding team to complement the entrepreneurial skill and talent.
A. H Cole defined entrepreneurship as the purposeful activity of an individual or group of associated individuals, undertaken to initiate, maintain, or earn profit by production and distribution of economic good and services.
According to Higgins, it is the function of seeking investment and production opportunity, organising an enterprise to understand a new production process, raising capital, hiring labour, arranging the supply of raw materials and selecting top managers of day –to-day operations.
According to Peter Drucker entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice. It has a knowledge base. Knowledge in entrepreneurship is a means to an end. Indeed, what constitutes knowledge in practice is largely defined by the end that is by the practice. Entrepreneurship is not just about making money. It is about imagination, flexibility, creativity, willingness to think conceptually, readiness to take risks, ability to mobilise agents of production and the capacity to see change as an opportunity. It is also about marrying passion and process with a good dose of perseverance.
History of Entrepreneurship
The term entrepreneurship can be traced back to as early as the Middle Ages, when the entrepreneur was simply someone who carried out tasks, such as buildings and construction projects by applying all the resources at his disposal. However, it was during the 16th century when business was used as a common term, and the entrepreneur came into focus as a person who is responsible for undertaking a business venture. In the 18th century, early economists, for instance one known as Richard Cantillon, added that an entrepreneur bears risk as part of his work definition.
It was during the 17th and 18th centuries Industrial Revolution that business itself was becoming part of the new lifestyle, especially in Europe, where most of this development was taking place. The early economists, such as John Baptiste, John Stuart Mill, and Alfred Marshall all included entrepreneurship into the economic spectrum of the time by defining the various skills and features of an entrepreneur. These definitions vary from an entrepreneur being responsible for employing resources in high productivity areas to earn profits, to risk bearing, and finally to an entrepreneur being responsible for organization and control. However, the most substantial research into entrepreneurial theory was achieved in the 20th century, under the aegis of Joseph Schumpeter, who claims that the entrepreneur has a creative destruction innovation by replacing destroying an existing economy by a better, advance one....