Okay so last week at a rather stimulating 'away day' with the team, we touched on, but didn't get too involved in, the definition of an Entrepreneur. Over the last couple of months I've attended several conferences were the words 'enterprise' 'entrepreneurship' 'freelancer' 'self-employed' and 'business owner' seem to have been used interchangeably. So anyway this day I guess I was doing that same such thing in relation to the creative industries (two other heavily used words) and my esteemed colleague (prof) was quick to point out my inappropriate use of the word entrepreneur. Based on this I have decided I need to apply some rigour to my use of language, but here is where I was coming from.
Firstly here is my original home spun version of what I had always considered an entrepreneur.
It all started with when I was about 12 and my dad described Arthur Daley (Minder, Thames Television) as an 'entrepreneur' he, my dad, described an entrepreneur as someone who sought and exploited opportunities in order to make money (or something like that) the general vibe was someone who was an opportunist, motivated ostensibly by making a reasonably speedy return on their investment (usually from a lock-up in south London).
As I got older I started to think of entrepreneurship as something pretty seedy, this was the 80's after all and my naive left wing, art school trained views lead me to distrust the commercial world and the money crabbing greedy 'entrepreneurs' I perceived as benefiting from Thatcherite Britain...where am I going with this?
Anyway it took me a long time to get over this view, some how as an artist if you did 'commercial' work you had some how sold out. But hang on. As an artist I did pretty quickly get into the commercial world after all I had ideas and opportunities that I needed to exploit, that were timely, that might just serve to raise my profile or might serve any number of 'other' purposes. But was this activity entrepreneurial? When a student leaves art, design, drama, music college and they find they have to work as a freelancer do they not need to exhibit entrepreneurial traits? seeking and exploiting opportunities in order to succeed in a crowded and competitive market?
Well this is all fair and good but it's just me expressing some thoughts and opinions and in the academic world that isn't sufficient. There are definitions, whole strands of academic scholarship devoted to the subject and here I will try and bring to you some of those definitions and ideas as I discover them. You might also wonder whether or not the definitions are important. I am suspending judgement until I find out a little more but my main focus for this is to questions whether or not individuals working in the creative industries, whether they be self-employed, just freelancers or running small companies are actually entrepreneurs?