What exactly is an entrepreneur?

WEFEST6Brad Feld wrote a post in July that we need a new word for entrepreneur.  That post really stuck with me.   So..what exactly is an entrepreneur?  Entrepreneur is defined as a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.   A founder is defined as one that founds or establishes.  These are very different definitions and should be noted.

I started using the word founder when I talk about the person who has started a company vs entrepreneur.  Although founders are very entrepreneurial so are many people and that doesn’t mean that they started a company.

Next April will be the 6th Women’s Entrepreneur Festival.  I am more excited about this event for several reasons.  The event is going to be held at 1 World Trade Center, the event will be taking itself on the road out of the NYU setting, we will be able to have more attendees and we will be able to create a new dialogue with multiple speakers and panels.

WEFestival has always been about celebrating women entrepreneurs.  The attendees are across many verticals. Someone who runs a large division inside a company is an entrepreneur because they have to be innovative in order to succeed.  A doctor who creates innovative products for their patients  makes them an entrepreneur.  Someone who runs the family business is generally entrepreneurial.  The word entrepreneur is about being a leader, being innovative and being able to take risks.  WEFestival has always wanted to champion those women and will continue to do so.

One of the conversations is that women should not pigeon hole themselves.  We have to be more strategic in our our skills using them not only to apply to our families but our businesses as well.  There is a balance between using your heart and using your brain.  There are so many ways to be entrepreneurial and that is what WEFestival embraces.

Bottom line is just because you aren’t a founder doesn’t mean you are not an entrepreneur.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pranay Srinivasan

    Killer Punch Line.

    1. Gotham Gal


  2. Sofia Papastamelos

    I’ve been thinking about the distinction ever since I read Brad’s post last month because I think it’s a great point. A lot of people don’t initially consider one to be an entrepreneur unless he or she has founded a company.I was just asked today to speak about entrepreneurship to a group of highschoolers and this is great inspiration! I want to show them that they can be entrepreneurial in many aspects of their life and school by taking chances and creating innovative solutions. (And then maybe one day become founders!)Joanne: is the WE festival invite only?

    1. Gotham Gal

      You have to apply to attend the WEFestival. I wish we could take in everyone that applies!!

  3. JLM

    .The world is divided as follows:1. Fire starters;2. Fire maintainers;3. People who glory in pissing on others’ fires — avoid these people.Whether one is called an “entrepreneur” or not is immaterial. The big question is — who started this fire?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Gotham Gal

      ha. that’s good

  4. pointsnfigures

    Great point. You can make just as big an impact by being a joiner. Founders cannot do it alone.

  5. Mario Cantin

    Great distinction you are making…The meaning of words does matter a great deal, IMO.And so does commas by the way as in:”Let’s eat, Grandma!” vs “Let’s eat Grandma!” Ha ha ha!

    1. Gotham Gal

      nice analogy

  6. Matt Kruza

    Hey Joanne in regards to the WEFestival here is someone that might be a great speaker to at least consider (and i person i think you would hit it off well). Tanisha Robinson from Print Syndicate in Columbus. https://www.crunchbase.com/… She has founded 3-4 startups at this point, one successful exit, they have raised $5 million from relatively big name investors, are profitable i believe, have over 100 employees, and she is one of the most dynamic speakers you will find. Know her from my college days and ran into her a few months ago at a conference and mentioned you and the womens entrepreneur Festival and said I hoped i could connect you two. I left another comment about her a few months ago but never heard anything, so last thing i want to do is spam you, but since i have engaged fairly regularly on here wanted to at least make one more effort to connect the two of you. I am not super close with Tanisha, but definitely know each other so happy to try to arrange communication or you can reach out on your own. She is defnitely one of the leading entreprneurs in the midwest (male or female) so thought it might help diversify network in this area (no clue how many you know in the heartland here 🙂 )

    1. Gotham Gal

      Thanks. I will definitely drill down on this.