Entrepreneurship is linked to the concept of 'undertaking'. It may be taken to mean organising resources to achieve a goal, in a way that involves taking a personal economic risk. It is closely linked with innovation, and is usually used in the context of small-scale business, and especially of starting up new businesses.
It implies taking a problem-solving approach rather than a procedure-based one, and it is often associated with character traits such as individualism, abrasiveness, and even ruthlessness. The link with risk-taking is shown by the common saying about entrepreneurs: "the man who never made a mistake never made anything."
Because they involve finding new and more efficient ways to transform resources into marketable products and services, entrepreneurship and innovation are the drivers of increased labour productivity, and thus of raised standards of living. Inculcating a spirit of entrepreneurship is key to an active labour market policy and to raising the labour market participation rate.
Many more people can reap the benefits of an entrepreneurial attitude than currently do. Being an entrepreneur means taking control over one’s life, rather than waiting to see what others might provide. It is thus a counterweight to the dependency that welfare states can have a tendency to enable, or even to encourage. Becoming an entrepreneur is also a sign of successful inclusion in society at large. Furthermore, diversity can be an economic strength. Many market opportunities derive from the specialist knowledge or experience brought by migrants, and groups that face discrimination and disadvantage in the labour market – for example women, disabled people and ethnic minorities – provide many significant niche markets.
It is important to remember that there are many models of entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurial spirit may be harnessed to achieve collective and social goals, as well as for the enhancement of individual riches or power. Such social entrepreneurship results in social enterprises.