Startup versus Entrepreneurship – a debate


By Shridhar Bhagwat

For many a discerning people, both the terms startups and entrepreneurs are confusing and according to most, there is no difference between them. However, there is subtle difference that only the knowledgeable can make out.

Startups could be anything new, small, innovative — today’s buzz world — and it has become fashionable to the level of that a startup can be anything or everything to nothing.

Since it sounds chic and fashionable, millions of people jump into the fray and with daily news of billions of dollars in being poured investment, it is beating even the Bollywood as gateway to dreamland.

But like most flashy things, almost 90% of startups die a premature death, just like high school infatuations, premature and one-sided, because they lack feet to move forward.

Entrepreneurship is similar to startups but dissimilar in many ways. It’s been there as old theory; it means ‘You take charge of your own life’, be your own boss, find your own way.

An entrepreneur would look for opportunities through which he can be productive and have ownership of his destiny. Unlike a startup, he does not feel the need of an idea to occur and few friends to join and then burn midnight oil to create something which they all feel great but may not be relevance to rest of the world.

An entrepreneur is always looking for opportunities to create business. He would always look for joining people or starting his own business to ensure he makes money.

In some sense, every small vendor, seller, shopkeeper and your local peddler is an entrepreneur, because he is enterprising and has the spirit to make a living and earn money pushes him to explore new and better opportunities.

Hmmm, aren’t both terms – startups and entrepreneurship — sounding same? Here are some points to make the difference clear:

Startups focus on using technology to provide solution to a problem while entrepreneurs look for opportunities to create business.

Earning profit is the only motto for an entrepreneur, for startups it could be Investors or creating products.

Startups focus on being a startup, while Entrepreneurs are focused on creating and doing business.

The best option would be to merge both and think in terms of business for all the ideas and solutions. The business fundamentals applied could definitely help startups sustain longer and become profitable ventures.



Shridhar Bhagwat is a management consultant who has spent more than 2 years studying 50+ startups and 15+ incubators. 

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