What is Corporate Entrepreneurship and Examples

The perception of a major firm is evolving in today’s dynamic society. To remain relevant to the competitive pressures, established organizations need to become more entrepreneurial in their approach to enable the incubation and application of innovative new businesses. Corporate entrepreneurship combines the financial resources and structure of a large corporation with the entrepreneurial energy of startups. 

What is Corporate Entrepreneurship?

Definition – Corporate entrepreneurship is the process of launching new enterprises inside well-established corporations and is characterized by a high level of creativity, risk-taking, and entrepreneurial leadership. 2020 James B. Quinn

It involves creating an environment that supports and nurtures innovative ideas, risk-taking, and proactive decision-making, just like in a startup setting. Organizations that embrace corporate entrepreneurship can realize their full potential, adapt to changing market dynamics, and drive long-term success.

Who is a Corporate Entrepreneur?

A corporate entrepreneur is an employee who works within an organization and adds value to an existing process by being innovative, proactive, and risk-taking, as well as assisting in creating a new product, service, or process from the ground up to create an additional business line. Corporate entrepreneurs can operate in different verticals that might not be as lucrative for individuals. This is done with the support of their organizations to help scale up and maintain a sustainable business model which would yield long term dividends.

Corporate Entrepreneur examples

Here are some prominent corporate entrepreneurship examples

Google’s “20% time”  is the most popular example of a prominent company providing its employees with the necessary time devoted to pursuing innovative ideas.

Since its inception in 1902, 3M has established itself as a technological powerhouse. They were able to make product enhancements and position new items in the market due to the culture of innovation and corporate entrepreneurship.

P&G increased its Tide home care product profits from $12 billion to $24 billion in ten years by instilling an entrepreneurial spirit among senior management and product team employees.

What distinguishes a corporate entrepreneur from a business entrepreneur?

Here the company promotes a mindset of entrepreneurship to create value in its offerings and to become relevant. Unlike general entrepreneurship where the risk is entirely on the individual or the entity which is formed, in corporate entrepreneurship although the employees take multiple calculated risks, even the outcome in adverse cases is borne by the company;

Corporate entrepreneurship is not limited to launching new ventures or creating startups within an existing organization. It encompasses a broader mindset shift, where employees are encouraged to think and act like entrepreneurs, identifying and seizing new opportunities, challenging the status quo, and driving innovation throughout the organization. To keep ahead of the competition, it is necessary to embrace change, take measured chances, and experiment with new ideas.

Five must skills a corporate entrepreneur needs to develop or possess for success

Integrity and accountability -An executive who has been given the responsibility needs to act with high integrity and accountability to utilise precious company resources and most importantly the time resource with utmost care.

Leverage -The individual needs to be enterprising and leverage the skills sets available within the organization , so that the development and scalability could be done quicker without additional resource allocations.

Market potential-There needs to be a proper market assessment and min viable product (MVP)/service ready, and its demand established. Right test marketing skills through proper customer/market connect along with the necessary marketing skills become crucial here.

Strategic & tactical thinking – A clear strategic road map is required for consistent long term success. As any product or service developed will help company expand in the right direction. Tactical thinking helps in introducing and establishing before competition gets in.

Innovation – Being a person with an innovative mindset is critical. The right innovation techniques to work on something new and desirable becomes extremely important for future success and sustainability of the product.

Benefits of Corporate Entrepreneurship

If companies do not embrace corporate entrepreneurship, their offerings may become redundant or outdated, and they will no longer be able to compete on an equal footing in the marketplace; it also allows its employees to take a risk and develop new initiatives and strategies, much like incubating a new start-up from the ground up, and it aids in the development of the following –

1. Enhanced Innovation and Creativity

By fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, organizations can tap into the creative potential of their employees. Encouraging innovative thinking and providing opportunities for experimentation can lead to the development of breakthrough products, services, and business models.

2. Increased Competitive Advantage

Organizations that embrace corporate entrepreneurship get a market advantage. By continuously adapting to changing customer needs and market trends, they can stay ahead of the competition and seize new opportunities before others.

3. Improved Employee Engagement and Retention

Employees are empowered by corporate entrepreneurship, which gives them a sense of ownership and autonomy. This enhanced involvement results in greater job satisfaction, higher retention rates, and a more motivated staff.

4. Expanded Market Reach

Through corporate entrepreneurship, organizations can explore new markets and expand their reach. By encouraging employees to identify untapped opportunities and explore innovative solutions, companies can extend their customer base and diversify their revenue streams.

5. Long-Term Sustainability

By fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, organizations can adapt to dynamic market conditions, navigate disruptions, and ensure long-term sustainability. In today’s continuously changing corporate landscape, the capacity to innovate and reinvent oneself is critical.

6. Improved Productivity

When employees are given the freedom and chance to take on new tasks and implement new ideas, they will be more productive and have higher morale. This is especially true in a commercial atmosphere where change happens quickly.

Role of Leadership in Promoting and Fostering Corporate Entrepreneurship

Leadership plays a critical role in shaping the success of corporate entrepreneurship initiatives. Leaders may establish an environment that supports risk-taking, learning, and creativity by offering a clear goal, fostering an environment of trust and psychological safety, and empowering people. Effective leaders inspire and motivate their teams, ensuring alignment between the company’s strategic objectives and the pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities

Challenges in Implementing Corporate Entrepreneurship

Established organizations often have ingrained processes, hierarchies, and resistance to change. Implementing corporate entrepreneurship necessitates overcoming these limitations and cultivating an open and adaptable mentality.

1. Risk Aversion

Corporate environments are risk-averse because failure can be seen as damaging to the company’s brand or financial viability. Encouraging risk-taking and viewing failure as a learning opportunity is critical for corporate entrepreneurial success.

2. Balancing Short-Term Results with Long-Term Innovation

Companies must establish a balance between short-term financial aims and long-term investment

3. Resistance to Change

Because Corporate Entrepreneurship would rely on existing resources and workers, there would be some skepticism and resistance to its immediate implementation. An open mentality and one-on-one conversations with the relevant team would aid in the removal of these impediments to faster adoption.

4. Organizational Culture and Structures

Developing a culture that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation can be difficult in hierarchical businesses. Breaking down silos, promoting collaboration, and allowing employees to express their ideas are all critical to fostering corporate entrepreneurship.


In an era of rapid technological advancements and market disruptions, corporate entrepreneurship will continue to gain significance. It should be consistent with the organization’s broader strategic goals. By integrating entrepreneurial activities into the strategic planning process, companies can ensure that innovation efforts are directed toward the achievement of long-term goals. Incorporating it into the organization’s fabric provides a systematic and long-term approach to innovation and growth.


What is corporate entrepreneurship?

A: It comprises encouraging employees to adopt an entrepreneurial attitude, take calculated risks, and innovate in order to develop new products, services, or procedures that can improve business growth and provide them with a competitive advantage.

Q: Why is corporate entrepreneurship important for businesses?

A: Corporate entrepreneurship is critical for organizations because it allows them to remain competitive and adapt to changing market conditions. By exploring new ideas, firms can identify untapped markets, enhance efficiency, and maintain relevance in an ever-changing business landscape.

Q: How can companies foster a culture of corporate entrepreneurship?

A: Companies can encourage corporate entrepreneurship by supporting and funding new ventures, fostering open communication and idea-sharing among employees, and establishing a flat organizational structure that allows for swift decision-making.

Q: Is corporate entrepreneurship suitable for all types of businesses?

A: It can be beneficial whether it’s a large multinational corporation or a small startup, encouraging employees to think creatively and take calculated risks can drive growth and foster a competitive edge.

Q: Can corporate entrepreneurship lead to disruptive innovations?

A: Yes, it has the potential to drive disruptive innovations that can revolutionize industries. Employees who are encouraged to question the status quo and think outside the box might come up with game-changing ideas that transform the industry.