Qualities and Role of the Entrepreneur

Recently, I ran across a thought-provoking statement regarding entrepreneurship. Joseph Schumpeter, one of the world’s greatest economists and author of the 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, summarized the qualities and role of the entrepreneur as follows:

To undertake such new things is difficult and constitutes a distinct economic function, first, because they lie outside of the routine tasks which everybody understands and, secondly, because the environment resists in many ways that vary, according to social conditions, from simple refusal either to finance or to buy a new thing, to physical attack on the man who tries to produce it.

To act with confidence beyond the range of familiar beacons and to overcome that resistance requires aptitudes that are present in only a small fraction of the population and that define the entrepreneurial type as well as the entrepreneurial function. This function does not essentially consist in either inventing anything or otherwise creating the conditions which the enterprise exploits. It consists in getting things done.

Schumpeter’s words hold true to this day, over 66 years later.