Entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching and running a new company, which is often initially a little business. The people who make these businesses are called entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship has been described as the "capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a company enterprise along with some of its dangers so as to create a profit". While definitions of entrepreneurship normally revolve around the launching and running of businesses, due to the large risks involved with establishing a startup, an important proportion of start-up businesses must close due to "lack of financing, poor business decisions, an economic crisis, lack of market demand--or even a mixture of all of these.

Entrepreneurship is the action of becoming an entrepreneur, or even "an operator or manager of a business enterprise who makes money at risk and initiative". Entrepreneurs act as managers and oversee the launch and expansion of an enterprise. Entrepreneurship is the process by which either an individual or a team defines a business opportunity and acquires and deploys the necessary resources required for its exploitation.

Early 19th century French economist Jean-Baptiste Say provided a broad definition of entrepreneurship, saying that it "shifts economic resources from an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and higher return". Entrepreneurs create something fresh, something different--they change or transmute values. Regardless of the firm size, big or small, they can partake in entrepreneurship opportunities. Four standards are required by the opportunity.

First, there needs to be opportunities or scenarios to recombine tools to create profit. Second, entrepreneurship requires differences between people, such as accessibility to certain individuals or the capability to comprehend details about opportunities. Third, taking on risk is quite necessary. The entrepreneurial process demands the organization of resources and people.

The entrepreneur is a factor in microeconomics and also the analysis of entrepreneurship reaches back into the work of Richard Cantillon and Adam Smith in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. However, entrepreneurship was largely ignored theoretically until the late 19th and early 20th centuries and empirically until a deep resurgence in business and economics since the late 1970s. From the 20th century, the understanding of entrepreneurship owes considerably to the work of economist Joseph Schumpeter from the 1930s along with other Austrian economists like Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek.

According to Schumpeter, an entrepreneur is someone who's willing and ready to convert a new idea or invention into a successful invention. Entrepreneurship employs what Schumpeter called "the gale of creative destruction" to replace in whole or in part poor innovations across markets and industries, simultaneously producing new products such as new business models. In this manner, creative destruction is mostly responsible for the dynamism of businesses and long-term financial development.

The supposition that entrepreneurship leads to economic growth is an interpretation of this residual in endogenous growth theory and as such is hotly debated in academic economics. An alternative explanation typified by Israel Kirzner suggests that the majority of innovations could be much more incremental improvements like the replacement of paper with plastic in the making of drinking straws.