• Rukiya Robinson

Adopting an Entrepreneurial Culture Can Create the Ultimate Company - Employee Partnership

Let’s face it. Being an entrepreneur today is more common than it was 15 years ago.  More people are exploring the path of entrepreneurship.  The business landscape is steadily evolving and companies must adapt and be nimble to remain viable, relevant, and competitive - not just to their competitors but in retaining employees.  


Today, there are a growing number of entrepreneur hubs, pitch meetings and competitions, capital raising events, conferences, entrepreneur reality shows, masterminds, cowork spaces for entrepreneurs, and technological resources and tools to support entrepreneurial ventures.  Major corporations even partner with organizations to support entrepreneurial initiatives supporting tech, women, STEM, and minorities to list a few.  Yet, some of the most successful technology companies were started by and are being run by entrepreneurs.  


Do you see this shift?  Entrepreneurs are becoming CEOs and company leaders.


Some would debate that being an entrepreneur is better than being an employee and would follow with a list of supporting reasons.  Likewise, some would debate the opposite, and being an employee is better and follow with a list of supporting reasons.  The reality is that it doesn’t have to be one or the other.  We can happily coexist and produce together. 


For aspiring entrepreneurs, the thought of launching an idea and it becoming a viable and profitable business venture is exciting.  Until the reality of what such a huge undertaking becoming a profitable business venture entails. 


When assessing the costs, time, labor, financial resources, and intellectual capital that an entrepreneur must commit to with the hopes of one day having all of the components work simultaneously to create a successful business venture can be intimidating.  Some employees even resist pursuing entrepreneurship because of the fear of the unknown thus choosing to remain at their jobs filled with ideas and nowhere to explore them.  


Companies can relieve the challenges of an employee entrepreneur by duplicating the efforts of supporting outside entrepreneurial initiatives by creating an entrepreneurial culture.  Entrepreneurial cultures and environments supporting employee entrepreneurs are also known as intrapreneurs.


Is it a risk for an organization to create an entrepreneurial culture or a risk not to?  


It’s a Win-Win partnership for the company and the employee. Why? For one, it’s less risky, and more resources are available.  Organizations already invest in R&D.  R&D is an integral and permanent function in most organizations.  Similarly, innovation should be a function because companies simply cannot afford not to innovate.  


Allowing an existing employee to explore, engage, and participate in creative processes has the potential to create new and/or improve products or services and improve the way a company operates creating cost savings.  Having parameters and dedicated resources permitting employees to develop and test prototypes gives them an environment to thrive in. 


Sometimes the next great idea can be sitting in the offices and cubicles.  New ideas are birthed by those that are hands-on and doing the job day in and day out.  They can identify better ways of doing their jobs, better ways of engaging clients and customers, and find materials that can improve an existing product or reduce production costs.  They can introduce a new product line and a myriad of other potential outcomes.  Innovative firms must have an infrastructure that supports and promotes growth.  Employee growth ultimately results in the growth of the company. 


It’s critical for companies to improve products, services, customer service, and customer experience.  These drive sales, profits, and retain customers.  If an employee is considering leaving to pursue an entrepreneurial venture and a company seeks to innovate then why not marry the two?   


Here are a few reasons entrepreneurial cultures should be considered:


  1. Move from siloed transactional departments to a culture of creativity and innovation

  2. Some companies already support and sponsor external entrepreneurial initiatives.  Why not support internal personnel with their ideas? Becoming an entrepreneur takes support resources anyway and combining entrepreneurial support efforts creates opportunities within the organization. 

  3. Creating a culture that fosters innovation by removing departmental silos, providing resources, creating an environment for testing prototypes, and providing incentives and/or rewards are a few ways that not only engage employees but having a direct impact on the companies growth is a motivator that creates loyal employees.  

Other benefits included creating a collaborative culture, improving employee engagement, and retention. 


The impact of losing an employee can be costly.  It will take resources to recruit and hire the right replacement.  Moreover, if an employee decides to leave to pursue an entrepreneurial venture, it will cost them time, money, sacrifice, testing of the product/service, and most times with little or no support.  


Technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that organizations no longer just need laborers. Companies need thinkers, creators, producers, and innovators. An entrepreneurial way of operating creates the potential for new products, improved products, new features, new designs, and new customers.


Adopting an innovative way of doing business serves the company and the employee.  Human capital is an organization's greatest asset and can be a company’s greatest investment.  


Employers don’t have to lose employees to test out their new ideas.  An aspiring entrepreneur doesn’t have to risk it all to launch an idea.  If the employee’s idea aligns with what the company does, it should be explored.  Imagine how much time an entrepreneur and a company would save if their company invested in an employee's new product or idea.


Innovating strategically is fundamental to an organization's competitive positioning.  Doing business the same old way just won’t work today. 



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