Chatham University

Women's Leadership

Rebecca Harris, director of Chatham’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship, explains how “intrapreneurs” promote innovation

Most people can describe what an entrepreneur is, but what about an “intrapreneur?” In a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Business Times, Rebecca Harris, director of Chatham’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship, talked about how intrapreneurs change a company from within. The term intrapreneur, or intra-corporate entrepreneur was coined by Elizabeth and Gifford Pinchot when they published their book called Intrapreneuring in 1985. In 1992, The American Heritage Dictionary brought intrapreneurism into the main stream by adding intrapreneur to its dictionary, defining it as “a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.” Rebecca adds, “Intrapreneurs are employees within existing corporate structures who are risk takers. They are individuals who are willing to take responsibility and ownership for their progressive ideas and actions. They work to promote the overall advancement of the organization.” The reason why intrapreneurship is experiencing resurgence is due in part to the shifting economy. “Existing businesses need to promote and support innovation within their existing structures if they want to grow and differentiate themselves from their competition. Encouraging intrapreneurship is a way to keep and advance exceptional employees who might leave a company if their ideas are stifled.”

Source: Pittsburgh Business Times

Related Links

Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article

Rebecca Harris