Tech entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have gotten all the press for disrupting entire industries, but intrapreneurs are still a vital part of the startup ecosystem. These employees who start new projects within established technology companies take on many of the same skills that startup entrepreneurs do, but they also face unique challenges.
Tech startups are notoriously difficult to scale. They must find customers, develop systems and business processes, and manage a growing team of employees—all while staying financially viable. In addition, cybersecurity risks are much greater for a tech startup than for a traditional business because these businesses run on the internet. This means that they must protect their websites and apps from cyberattacks, keep their data secure, and make sure that they’re complying with industry regulations.
As a result, they often experience a high rate of failure. According to CB Insights, 80% of all startups fail within the first five years of operation. One of the reasons that so many startup ventures fail is because they are outcompeted by other businesses that focus on similar products or services. Trying to compete with a business that already has a strong brand and following is a surefire way to sink your company. Instead, tech intrapreneur should focus on finding ways to provide a remarkable customer experience and build lasting relationships with their initial core customers. This will help them grow slowly and steadily rather than attempting to go big right away.
Risks and Challenges of Being a Tech Intrapreneur
Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs both have to sell their ideas, form teams, assess risk and communicate effectively. However, they do have some distinct skills that can be used in different environments. For example, a tech entrepreneur who launches an independent software development firm has to be able to build and market the product, while an intrapreneur at an established technology company may have to create and support a research and innovation team.
The authors of a recent study point out that intrapreneurs can be valuable strategic resources for their firms because they help them adapt to the changing environment and achieve innovations and sustainability. They add that the success of intrapreneurship depends on several factors, including the availability of resources and the organizational culture.
Moreover, the authors of the study point out that intrapreneurship may be more likely at lower levels of an organization than at higher ones. This suggests that intrapreneurs must be supported at the managerial level by providing them with adequate space for creativity, experimentation and exploitation. They also need to be encouraged by managers to share their ideas and participate in innovation activities.
The authors of the study suggest that further studies are needed to investigate the various facets through which intrapreneurship can be cultivated. These studies should address issues such as the pivotal factors influencing intrapreneurs’ behaviors, which could be important for improving management strategies. Moreover, they should explore the relationship between the organizational characteristics and the enabling mechanisms for cultivating intrapreneurship.