Entrepreneur or intrapreneur? Where to go for an impactful career


Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.


As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.


Steve Jobs (Stanford Commencement Address)

For more and more talented professionals who are predestined for a what-used-to-be stellar career, earning money and rising up the career ladder is not enough anymore. They are looking to change something in the world through their job. They want (or need) a career with purpose, with impact, with meaning.

This does not mean that money and professional development are not important. On the contrary, we all want to take care of our families and be able to enjoy the opportunities of our time. However, shouldn’t it be possible to combine the different factors that makes us happy?

For many entrepreneurial individuals working in large organisations, the question “Should I stay or should I go?” often arises. Entrepreneur or intrapreneur? Yes, you do need that entrepreneurial spirit in a culture in which we are encouraged to choose a career based on its ability to provide security and financial stability rather than opportunity for alignment with our passions and dreams.


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The prospect of finding fulfilling work is believed to be relegated to the lucky few born with extraordinary talent, wealth or an unusual drive to succeed. This could not be further from the truth. Meaningful work is not just possible, in our opinion it is your birth right.

While following your heart and not settling until you find “your love”, both entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship will give you opportunities to find meaning and purpose, to create positive impact and to innovate. Here are some thoughts and hints around both options.



As an entrepreneur you will value autonomy and speed, making fast decisions and not owing anyone an explanation.

As an intrapreneur, you will enjoy to access to resources that that organisation you work for can offer and if you find that one great idea, scaling it through the massive “organism” can be mind blowing. Which perspective attracts you more at the moment?


Key Challenges

In either option, there will be challenges to overcome. As an entrepreneur there will be no structure, support not even a team in the beginning.

In a large organisation, bureaucracy and over-engineered processes and passive individuals can cause great dreams to never become true. What can you deal with better?


Lever of Innovation

As an entrepreneur you will very likely be delivering your vision and impact very directly. As an intrapreneur you will rather be working the lever – navigating a complex system and people to deliver a common goal that you may even seldom see up close. How direct to you want to/can you be?

Whatever path you take, keep exploring, listen to stories and surprise yourself with courage, it will always be worth it.


View our full infographic here for more information on the pathways and preference.

If you live in Switzerland, we are holding a workshop on your Options for a Meaningful Career at Impact Hub Zurich on 17. September, 19:00-21:00. Sign up here.



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