Best of Both Worlds: The Intrapreneurship Phenomenon
September 6, 2017

62% of millennials have considered starting their own business. 72% of this generation believe that startups are essential for promoting economic growth, and 78% consider the entrepreneurs in their lives, whether they be friends or family, to be successful. Survey responses such as these have earned millennials the title “The Entrepreneurial Generation,” and have resulted in optimistic predictions about the future of the economy in the hands of such a passionate group of innovation-minded people.

The statistics, however, tell a different story. According to a 2014 study by the Small Business Administration, less than 2% of millennials are actually self-employed, and the Brookings Institution has reported a steady decline in startup activity over the past decade. The younger generations aren’t walking the walk when it comes to entrepreneurship, despite their reported desire to enter the space. It’s hard to blame them, given the unusually low salary levels and unprecedented levels of student debt faced by Americans in their twenties and early thirties; 79% are worried that they will not have enough money to retire, placing financial barriers that are difficult to surmount in front of this generation of would-be entrepreneurs.

Enter the intrapreneur-- a phenomenon born out of young people’s entrepreneurial desires and realistic financial insecurities combined with large corporations’ growing need to hire innovators. Intrapreneurs possess all of the same qualities of entrepreneurs-- grit, vision, and a desire to do things differently-- but execute their disruptive ideas within the confines of an existing company instead of completely on their own. The most celebrated example of intrapreneurship culture is probably Google’s Innovation Time Off program, where employees can pursue their wildest technical ideas with full support from the company, but without the accompanying bureaucracy. Even smaller initiatives, like annual company-wide hackathons, have produced great business ideas including the Playstation and the Post-It Note. Intrapreneurship is a win-win; young people get to make their ideas a reality without the risks of starting their own company, and large companies gain an advantage against those looking to disrupt their industries and steal their market share.

To help companies grow the intrapreneurial spirit among their employees, Quake is offering a brand new executive education course in partnership with NYU’s Stern School of Business. The one-week Entrepreneurial Leadership Seminar enables participants to work on real ideas in areas ripe for disruption, against the backdrop of New York City’s vibrant tech and startup community. Apply by November 10th to secure your spot-- or learn more by visiting quakecapital.com/els/nyu.

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