Entrepreneurship is a broad term that encompasses the creation, organization and management of a business or enterprise. While commonly thought of as founders of companies, entrepreneurs are by no means identical in their pursuits, and the field of entrepreneurship
itself can be divided into many categories. Silicon Valley entrepreneur and educator Steven Blank distinguishes between four types of entrepreneurs:
Small business entrepreneurs comprise the majority of entrepreneurs in the United States. They run everything from grocery stores, salons and travel agencies, to internet commerce storefronts, plumbing companies and fashion outlets. They tend to hire local employees or
family, and focus their ambitions on providing for themselves and their families financially, not on dominating an industry. They usually fund their business via financial support from friends and family or from small business loans.
Scalable start-up entrepreneurs are typified by the Silicon Valley businessperson. They
start companies hoping to change the world with their desired accomplishments, be they new
advances in biomedical engineering or social media innovations. They attract investment from
financial investors, called venture capitalists, and try to hire the best and brightest workers to
discover a repeatable and scalable business model. When they find it, these entrepreneurs seek
additional venture capital to fund more rapid business expansion. Scalable startups in
innovation clusters (Silicon Valley, Shanghai, New York, Bangalore, Israel, etc.) comprise a
small percentage of entrepreneurs and start-ups. But, they attract almost all of the venture
capital and press attention.
Large company entrepreneurs work within larger corporations to expand their market
coverage. Large companies have finite life cycles, and changes in consumer preferences can
create pressure for disruptive innovation, requiring the businesses to create entirely new
products sold to new customers in new markets. This is often accomplished by acquiring
companies that work in the desired fields.
Social entrepreneurs try to create products and services that address social needs on a large
scale. They seek to generate long-term social value rather than profits, and the organizations
they lead may be non-profit, for-profit, or a hybrid of the two.
Source: Blank, Steven. “Startup America—Dead on Arrival,” Steve Blank, February 8,
Have a great idea? Want to start your own business? Whether you have an idea for an app, or want to start your own educational services firm, there are resources out there to help. Start with networking, learn your product, get experience in another organization, and launch!
Interested in being at the beginning of something new? Working for a startup can be an exciting way to put your stamp on something as it grows. Many employers are attracted to Bowdoin grads who can learn quickly, solve complex problems, and write well.
Internships and Jobs
It may seem counterintuitive to write about internship and job opportunities for entrepreneurs,
many of whom desire an entrepreneurial lifestyle to move beyond what they perceive as the
structured internships and jobs of the corporate world. Indeed, there are not many well-defined
internship and job paths for entrepreneurs. But, many organizations sponsor fellowships for
young entrepreneurs that give them time and funding to develop their business ventures.
Here is a partial list of fellowships for aspiring social entrepreneurs:
- Ashoka: Ashoka fellows are normally given three-year living stipends, enabling them to focus on building and developing their institutions. Fellows are nominated by third- parties, based on five criteria: (1) a new idea, (2) creativity, (3) entrepreneurial quality, (4) social impact of the idea, and (5) ethical fiber.
- Draper Richards Foundation: To be eligible for a Draper Richards Fellowship, an aspiring social entrepreneur must have created, usually within the previous three years, an organization that has obtained or plans to apply for 501(c)(3) status. If selected, he or she will receive $300,000 in startup funding, paid over 3 years, for his or her non-profit organization.
- Echoing Green: Echoing Green provides non-profit innovators with $90,000 over two years, as well as comprehensive technical assistance and consulting support. 20 applicants are selected each year.
- Skoll Foundation: The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship support social entrepreneurs whose work has the potential for large-scale influence on environmental sustainability, health, tolerance and human rights, institutional responsibility, economic and social equity, or peace and security. The Skoll Awards provide later-stage, or mezzanine, funding, which is generally structured as a $1 million award paid out over three years. Programs submitted for consideration should have a track record of no less than three years.
- Venture for America: The Fellow will spend five weeks at Training Camp learning the hard and soft skills needed to excel at a startup; work for two years at a high-growth company in one of 17 cities, learning the ins and outs of entrepreneurship. The fellow
Salaries vary widely depending on role, geographic location, and level of experience. Look at specific roles in the the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Do your research to get a better sense of what specific companies in particular cities are paying entry-level employees. Check out Glassdoor and Salary.com to get an idea. Also, a cost of living calculator can be very useful when trying to compare salaries in different parts of the country.
Entrepreneurs’ salaries vary considerably. Most entrepreneurs have the freedom to set their
own salaries, which may change depending on their companies’ success in a given fiscal year.
According to PayScale, the average U.S. entrepreneur earned a pre-bonus and commission
income of between $38,500 and $91,440 in the 2011 fiscal year.
As for many other jobs, entrepreneurs’ salaries are partly determined by the business’s location,
type of business, and years of experience:
- Location: The location of an entrepreneur’s business can sometimes drastically affect
his or her salary. Business owners in California earn average annual salaries as high as
$122,000, while those in Georgia usually make less than $70,000, and those in Ohio
average about $72,000. Average salaries of entrepreneurs in New York, Pennsylvania
and Florida may be as high as $100,000.
- Type of Business: The way entrepreneurs structure their business can determine their
salaries. A “self-employed” business owner often refers to a sole proprietorship, and the
average salary for this type of business ranges between roughly $35,000 and $85,000.
Franchise owners and company owners earn slightly more, with salaries for both ranging
from $40,000 to $97,000. Contract workers and private practice owners tend to earn
about $121,000 per year.
- Years of Experience: The longer a business survives, the more income its owners
earn. Within the first four years of a business, the owner’s average salary ranges from
$31,000 to $70,950. By the ninth year, that figure may grow to $89,000, and at year 20
the business may generate for the owner an average annual salary of $98,900.