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What is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is one who starts and operates a business, usually with significant financial risk and/or innovative concepts.

To fund their enterprise, entrepreneurs may seek venture capital or angel funding, or engage in a combination of methods to self-fund, collectively referred to as "bootstrapping" (e.g., owner financing, personal debt, and sweat equity).

An entrepreneur’s enterprise is often referred to a start-up. It may remain a one-person or small company, or become a large-scale employer.

The difference between an entrepreneur and a small business owner can be nuanced, and often characterized by mindset. According to Harvard Business School professor Howard H. Stevenson, "Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled."

However, regardless of their company’s stage or size, an entrepreneur is subject to the same employer laws and regulations as any other company.

Want to learn more about entrepreneurism?

Read articles available on Thrive, the ADP blog for start-ups and small businesses. Visit Thrive >