The origins and purpose of the entrepreneur
Posted by: VW

Prepare yourself for a lesson in etymology.

The French word entrepreneur is derived from the verb "entreprendre." It comes from a great family of words such as "comprendre" and "apprendre" where the former means "to grasp, to include, to cover, to be understood" while the latter means "to learn, to inform, to find out, to teach." How appropriate for the business person today.

Let's dig a little deeper.

"Entreprendre" is made up of two words: ‘entre' meaning ‘between' and ‘prendre' meaning ‘to take.' Taken together the verb "entreprendre" means "to undertake, to take in hand, to attempt, to contract for." defines entrepreneur as "one who undertakes or manages." It literally means "to take something in between something else." The ability of the entrepreneur is to see what nobody else can see - but for her it is obvious. In this sense, entrepreneurship is an exercise in awareness.
Historically speaking, the word entrepreneur first crossed the Channel to England in 1475, however it did not stay. Speaking from conjecture, this was probably because the English Monarchical system at the dawn of the Renaissance did not have a use for people that "undertook and managed" - in fact, developing this type of person was not required by the monarchy at that time. There was simply the monarchy, with the Queen, King, Lords, Duchesses, Knights and there were the serfs and peasantry.

It was not until 1828 - over 350 years later - that the word was re-borrowed from the French, a mere 9 years before the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. As Wikipedia states: "This was a long period of prosperity for the British people, as profits gained from the overseas British Empire, as well as from industrial improvements at home, allowed an educated middle class to develop." At this time, those who undertook and managed became required, however not too many of these types of people were around because society was not set up for it. So, at this stage in our society there was an opening to reach for the higher classes. Those that "undertook, took in hand, attempted" were quite literally "contracted for" and got the benefit of a new middle class system. This was truly revolutionary at the time.

As this entrepreneurial system spread globally to all areas of the British Empire it became the foundation for developing the middle class. In effect, entrepreneurs were charged with maintaining and growing the middle class, even though they were not implicitly told that's what they would be doing. It just happened to work that way. The trouble with that is today, people are not aware of this fact - so we are here to remind you:

If you are an entrepreneur reading this, you want to be aware that what you agreed to is creating, developing and maintaining the middle class.

And, while it is true that there are goodies for us who get to play the game that is the primary intention. As entrepreneurs this is our role. Without us opportunity, jobs, infrastructure, ambition, drive - a lot of it disappears. Who we are for the world is a chance to make things better - and in the process build a better world. I don't want you to get the impression that it's a glorious thing either - unless you make it so. For those who choose it, it simply becomes a game worthy of one's life. The question is, do you still want to play?
Before you make the call, you should also take note that when it was created entrepreneurship was not designed for everyone to succeed. The game board simply states "you can attempt" to play the game, and over 95% who attempt to play fail - although nobody was told the latter part. People just went for it, worked as hard as they possibly could and a few made it. In fact, one in every ten thousand made it beyond ten years of operations. That is quite a statistic, however, this provided for an economic churn, and ensured the system was functional for those who "controlled" it from the top. Simply put, the era of the entrepreneur, as we know it today, was a reaction to the new found wealth and assets of the British Empire.

In today's version of the game we have one major advantage: information. What was not known 150 or even 10 years ago, is now becoming more and more readily available for those who seek it - and, the percentages of failures are decreasing dramatically for those who are educated and have access to the right information. This has staggering consequences for our society. As a company, our invitation to you is to join the game and reverse the number from 95% failures to 95% successes by developing entrepreneurs as business owners, executives and global citizens of profitable organizations that make a difference. Just as any able-bodied person can be trained how to drive a car we say that anyone can be developed in the right amount of time and have the experience - and privilege - of owning a business organization.

This is what we are charging you with.

What do you say? Do you still want to play?

By Vwodek Wojczynski

Category: General

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