Intrapreneurship is the gateway to innovation

At Orange Corners, we strive for innovation and impact at the ecosystem level. Therefore, we would like to offer our local private partners the opportunity to take part in the adventure that is intrapreneurship. Our partners benefit from the ability of making use of the Orange Corners incubation programme, which has already trained over 800 entrepreneurs globally. As intrapreneurs, their employees will receive the guidance needed to foster their innovative ideas for the company. In addition, the Orange Corners team can offer support by assisting the private partner in establishing the right conditions for their intrapreneur to succeed.

Keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive!

In this day and age, businesses constantly need to adjust to remain relevant. This requires an entrepreneurial spirit in order to identify where and how change needs to be implemented for an established organisation to remain successful. One way to ensure that the entrepreneurial spirit remains alive in a large, established company or organisation is to promote intrapreneurship. To explain what intrapreneurship entails, and why it is beneficial to existing businesses, the Orange Corners team interviewed Dr. Werner Liebregts, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the Jheronimus Bosch Academy of Data Sciences (JADS).

“The simplest definition of intrapreneurship is entrepreneurship within existing organisations”, Liebregts explains. “Like in ‘regular’ entrepreneurship, it has its risks, but the context is completely different. As an entrepreneurial employee, you are positioned in a hierarchical and organisational structure. You might not be in charge of your own time allocation, which limits your entrepreneurial freedoms, but at the same time intrapreneurship offers the means ‘regular’ entrepreneurs can only dream of, as established companies have the financial capability to support the intrapreneur.”

No enterprise lives on forever

Besides benefits to the employee, shown, for instance, in terms of workplace satisfaction which in turn allows companies to retain talent, companies may find intrapreneurship necessary to stay relevant. Dr. Liebregts explains this as follows: “The benefit of intrapreneurship for established organisations is the right to exist. No enterprise lives on forever without reinventing itself and its products or services.’’ Organisations can capitalise on the knowledge of their labour force by giving space to pitch and develop their entrepreneurial ideas for the company. This requires some adjustments at the management level, as employees need to be given a certain degree of autonomy, the means to develop their idea, and the support of their seniors. “Organisations have plenty of intelligent employees, but these often don’t have a place or time to develop their ideas, this structure needs to be created for them”, Liebregts continues.

Positive effect on company results

Orange Corners offers intrapreneurship spots to employees of our private partners. This means that companies can foster innovation within their own organisations whilst benefitting from the Orange Corners incubation programme and thereby contributing to our goal of driving innovation, creating social impact and promoting work opportunities for the youth of Africa and the Middle East. “Several studies have shown that intrapreneurship has a positive effect on company results, which translates to positive effects on the macroeconomic level”, Liebregts comments, who also sees that intrapreneurship can also improve local innovation, in turn bringing about social impact: “You may see innovations that are new to the local market. These do not have to be new to the world necessarily, but could be products or services already existing in other localities, or ones which were not deemed suitable in other places, but do fit the local needs.”

Intrapreneurship allows established companies to maximise their ambidexterity, their balance between exploitation and exploration. Large organisations benefit from economies of scale, allowing them to maximise their exploitation potential. This does, however, mean that most large companies are rather rigid, and may be less successful in exploring new business opportunities. Intrapreneurship, and the organisational change it entails, allows businesses to find the balance between exploitation and exploration, and ensures their relevance in an ever-changing economy. Dr. Liebregts captures the essence by stating: “Intrapreneurship is the gateway to innovation”.

More info needed?

Are you convinced yet? Please contact Richard van Hoolwerff ([email protected]), to see what intrapreneurship can do for your organisation.

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