‘‘I seen my opportunities and I took ‘em.” That is how George Washington Plunkitt, a member of New York City’s corrupt Tammany Hall political machine, summarized his lucrative career of “honest graft.” Plunkitt was a scoundrel and a crook, and yet his pithy statement provides us with a good working definition of an entrepreneur: a person who identifies an opportunity and pursues it. A century later, William Bygrave, a scholar and practitioner of the entrepreneurial arts, extended this definition, describing an entrepreneur as someone who not only perceives an opportunity but also “creates an organization to pursue it.”1

That last part of Bygrave’s definition is essential. Opportunities as we generally understand them are most effectively ...

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