A Better Word for Entrepreneurship

I often tell people that I’m not a fan of the word Entrepreneurship… it’s too hard to type, too hard to say and it means so many different things!

So, at U-M and the Center for Entrepreneurship, we spend quite a bit of effort trying to break down that word into meaningful elements and help guide students through the process of commercialization, innovation and pursuing their dreams.

For us, an Entrepreneur is someone who displays many of these characteristics:

  • Leadership
  • Tenacity
  • Sense of Urgency
  • Vision
  • Risk Taking
  • Inspiring
  • Not Afraid To Fail
  • Passion
  • Good Communicator
  • Competitive
  • Creativity
  • Integrity
  • Ambitious
  • Life Long Learner


And, as a today’s speaker at our Entrepreneurship Hour, Jay Adelson (former CEO of Digg.com) says, “an Entrepreneur is also a little bit Crazy”.

As I was preparing for our final discussion group on these topics I was reflecting on a previous speaker and how he had described a process he went through in simplifying a company’s mission statement repeatedly until he came up with a single word that by itself reflected the company’s goals, values and strategic direction.

Always up for a challenge, I started this same process of iterating through these entrepreneurial characteristics in search of a simplified way of describing them.

After much reflection and iteration I finally arrived at result which I’m happy to share with you now…

A potentially better word for Entrepreneurship is… “Do”. 

So much of what we focus on in Entrepreneurship is learning by doing.  Not waiting, not dreaming but actually getting in there and making things happing.

For me, that is the key.  We learn while we do.


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