K-12 teachers: Get free professional development wherever you are! EconEdLink members can register for webinars with one click and will receive certificates of completion within 24 hours of viewing. CHECK IT OUT

Grade 6-8

What Makes an Entrepreneur?

Updated: April 26 2016,

What is it that makes someone an entrepreneur? What major characteristics do entrepreneurs exhibits? How do you know if a person is an entrepreneur or not? These are all extremely important questions about the concept of entrepreneurship, and they do not come with easy answers.


Sell LemonadeWhat is it that makes someone an entrepreneur? [Economic definition is one who innovates and takes risks in developing a product or business.] What major characteristics do entrepreneurs exhibits? How do you know if a person is an entrepreneur or not? These are all extremely important questions about the concept of entrepreneurship, and they do not come with easy answers.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify an entrepreneur by recognizing distinguishing characteristics.
  • Distinguish an entrepreneur from an intrapreneur, and commercial, social, and lifestyle entrepreneurs.

Resource List

Click on the websites below to check-out the resources


Activity 1

The teacher will introduce the concept of entrepreneurship and provide a simple definition. The definition should state that an entrepreneur is one who owns his or her business. The teacher might want to use several economic terms to describe an entrepreneur. The teacher will then pose an open-ended statement: An owner of a business is… The students should be given a minute or two to brainstorm over the statement and create a list of all the things they feel would complete the statement. Students could also read Richard Branson's Six Tips for Every Young Entrepreneur to help them answer the question. The answers should then be placed on the board and a master list developed. The students should write down the master list and have it with them for Activity Two.

Activity 2Money In Whell Barrow

The teacher should instruct the students to go to the following web sites:
What is Entrepreneurship?

[Note: When accessing this site, advertisements and on-line gaming sites may have windows that appear automatically without the user's ability to stop them.]

After the students have read the web-site information the students should answer the following questions.

  1. What is the definition of an entrepreneur?
    [Possible definition may be one who creates a product of his or her own.]
  2. What is a social entrepreneur?
    [One who creates innovation in public fields.] What is the difference between a social entrepreneur and a commercial entrepreneur? [A social entrepreneur works for social goals; a commercial entrepreneur works to earn a profit.]
  3. What is Investorwords definition for an entrepreneur?
    [One who starts a business.]
  4. What is the International Society of Entrepreneurs' definition?
    [One who s tarts a business, assuming all the risk for the sake of profit.]
  5. Define a lifestyle entrepreneur?
    [One who is his or her own boss; one who makes a good living; one who is not on the cutting edge.]
  6. What is an intrepreneur?
    [One who nurtures an idea inside a corporation] Go to https://intrapreneurialinitiative.org/a-brief-history-of-intrapreneurship/ to find out how this is different from being an entrepreneur? [The entrepreneur assumes no risk, since he or she is not the owner of the business.]

At the end of this activity, have the students create a definition of the term entrepreneur. Instruct the students that the definition they create may include ideas from the class-generated list as well as material from the questions above. They must also include, along with the definition, an example of someone from their community who fits their definition.

Activity 3

Discuss the students' definitions; in the discussion, clarify the characteristics stated in the definitions. After a short discussion, have the students go to the following web site: https://www.biography.com/business-figure/dave-thomas#awesm=~oCcbmJM7ZidFUJ . When they reach the page they should click on the first date on the timeline. The students should then follow the timeline and answer the questions that follow.

  1. What influenced Dave Thomas to enter the restaurant business?
    [Answers may vary but should include his enjoyment of the work– the hands-on experience.]
  2. When was Dave Thomas an Intrapreneur?
    [He was an intrapreneur when he was at Kentucky Fried Chicken.]
  3. Why was it risky for Dave Thomas to open "another hamburger restaurant"?
    [His friends told him the world did not need one.]
  4. How was Wendy's going to make itself different from the other hamburger stores?
    [Wend'y would serve family style, made to order food, and family style furniture and lights.]
  5. What two things made Dave Thomas an entrepreneur?
    [He owned his own business, and used the franchise method.]
  6. Many entrepreneurs make charitable contributions and perform service activities for their communities. Has Dave Thomas done this? How?
    [Yes, He has made contributions to several charitable organizations including the St. Jude Children's Hospital, the Ohio State Cancer Research Institute and Adoption Works….For Everyone.]
  7. Did Dave Thomas fit your definition of an Entrepreneur? Why or Why not?
    [Answers will vary but should be well explained and defended.]
  8. Did you see Dave Thomas as an Entrepreneur before this exercise? Explain why you did or why you did not.
    [Answers will vary, but should be well thought out and explained fully.]

Take a quiz on Dave Thomas and his restaurant business here.

View Interactive Activity


  1. Identify three characteristics that can be associated with an entrepreneur. [Answers will vary]
  2. Explain, using Dave Thomas as an example, the major differences between being an Intrapreneur and an entrepreneur.[Inside innovation like at KFC as opposed to starting and running your own business]
  3. Identify an entrepreneur from your community and defend your reasons for this choice. [Answers will vary but should be concise and show the characteristics that the local Entrepreneur has and why the student sees this person as fulfilling the role of an Entrepreneur]


The students are asked to interview the entrepreneur that they identified in question number three of the conclusion. They should prepare a list of questions to ask the entrepreneur. The teacher must approve this list. Once approval has been given to the questions, the students should arrange a time to interview the person and then conduct the interview. Upon completion the student should write a short essay on the entrepreneur. The essay should include the characteristics the entrepreneur has shown, the reason they went into the line of work that they are currently doing as well as any other information that is relevant to the topic.