Definition of intrapreneurship
Intrapreneurship involves creating or discovering new ideas or opportunities for the purpose of creating value, where this activity involves creating a new and self-financing organisation within or under the auspices of an existing company. An intrapreneur is a person who practises intrapreneurship.
According to this definition, a corporate manager who starts a new initiative for their company which entails setting up a new distinct business unit and board of directors can be regarded as an intrapreneur.
In contrast, a corporate manager who starts a new initiative using pre-existing corporate structures is not an intrapreneur. Nor is a leader of an R&D unit within an organisation, whose innovations are managed by the organisation.
Were this R&D leader to create a new stand-alone organisation, which performs its own functions and sells its own products – albeit with strong continued links to the parent firm, organisation – it would count as intrapreneurship.
The VanCity Savings Credit Union is a credit union based in Canada. At the start of the new century, it developed an intrapreneurial venture dedicated to providing mezzanine finance to high-growth companies and non-profit organisations.