Entrepreneurship and innovation: understand how these concepts relate

To be an entrepreneur you often need to innovate, and without entrepreneurship, innovation can become just an idea on paper. See in this guide the concept of entrepreneurship and innovation, how they relate and why innovation is so important in the different sectors of a business.

Entrepreneurship and innovation have such a close relationship that, in a competitive business, it is difficult to imagine one without the other. 

To be an entrepreneur you often need to innovate, and without entrepreneurship, innovation can become just an idea on paper. 

See in this guide the concept of entrepreneurship and innovation, how they relate and why innovation is so important in the different sectors of a business.  

What is entrepreneurship and innovation?

Entrepreneurship and innovation are two concepts closely linked and used in the search for solutions to problems and market opportunities in a unique and new way. 

An example of innovative entrepreneurship is the startups, temporary organizations created to experiment and validate a Business model scalable. 

In this sense the iFood, a foodtech reference in Latin America, was born as a startup in 2011. Thus, it combined food and technology: the perfect marriage of entrepreneurship with innovation.  

What is entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is the ability to seek, select and identify business opportunities, ideas and solutions for a specific audience or society in general. 

Thus, in general terms, entrepreneurship, in the figure of the entrepreneur, generates value by encouraging economic and social growth through new and better ways of doing things. 

An entrepreneur is someone who believes that they can intervene and impact results with their behavior, skills, work and effort. 

What is innovation?

A innovation is the act of renewing or inventing something new – process, product or service – to meet the demands and needs of a specific market or society in general. 

Thus, derived from the Latin term innovation, Innovation is an idea created outside of previous standards, which can be put into practice, is useful and has the potential to provide financial returns. 

What is the relationship between entrepreneurship and innovation?

The relationship that exists between entrepreneurship and innovation is one of integration. Thus, the concept of innovation is integrated into the characteristics of entrepreneurship. 

Therefore, to innovate you need to undertake, have a complete vision of the business, the environment, the environment in general to be able to develop a disruptive product, service or method. 

In other words, not every enterprise is innovative, but every innovation is an enterprise.

Both require effort, the search for opportunities, taking risks, persisting, committing to the idea, having internal capacity and finding an external environment conducive to change. 

Why is innovation so important for entrepreneurship today?

Innovation is essential for entrepreneurship today, as we live in a world where people are born new technologies every moment.

Therefore, as the entrepreneur's role is to revolutionize standards, seek new solutions and break paradigms, innovating has become essential. A business environment with a culture of innovation has a long-term vision. 

This means that it has the ability to manage risks, internal cooperation between various departments and employee involvement. 

Furthermore, he knows how to identify and anticipate market trends.  

The most innovative companies of 2022, according to  Fast Company, create solutions aimed at carbon market, urgent topic with which the iFood is compromised

What are the types of innovation in entrepreneurship?

O Oslo Manual – Proposal for Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Data on Technological Innovation, from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), presents some of them: 

  • introduction of a new product or change to an existing product;
  • new process in the industry;
  • opening of a new market;
  • development of new sources of raw materials. 

The innovations TPP – Technological Innovations in Products and Processes – therefore encompass the implementation of technologically new products and processes. 

Finally, these innovations are also linked to the improvement of existing products and processes with the use of new technologies. 

What are the benefits of combining innovation with entrepreneurship?

The benefits of combining innovation with entrepreneurship are countless for both business and society in general. It's the famous win-win. 

Innovation has been highlighted by experts as a differentiator for organizations that want to increase their competitiveness in the market. Therefore, the more innovative a company is, the more competitive it will be and the greater its position will be in the market in which it operates. 

In addition to competitiveness, there are other benefits of innovation, according to the book Innovation management. Are they: 

  • increased demand for products and services with the creation of new markets;
  • differentiation in relation to the competition; 
  • competitive position through products and services that are difficult to imitate;
  • cost reduction with improved efficiency in production and management processes;
  • profit growth with high value-added products and services; 
  • increased competence to innovate, which leads the company to increase its ability, volume of knowledge and attitude towards innovation.

10 steps to combine entrepreneurship and innovation

Developing an organizational culture to combine entrepreneurship and innovation requires a collective effort from all members of a group, organization or company. 

We selected 10 fundamental steps to implement the culture of innovation and make an enterprise innovative, in accordance with the Sebrae. 

  1. Having an environment conducive to innovation, that is, a team willing to understand what innovation is and what it is for; 
  2. Have creative people (entrepreneurs, collaborators, employees), prepared and encouraged to innovate and create results for the company; 
  3. Mapping internal and external opportunities, identifying paths to create value; 
  4. Designate a committee or management person who is in charge of implementing the innovation culture; 
  5. Have a vision of the future and know where you are going; 
  6. Establish metrics, goals and plans; 
  7. Promote periodic meetings to present and discuss ideas; 
  8. Define priority areas that can generate value through innovation; 
  9. Put into practice a systematic and continuous process (or method);
  10. Understand what value is for the customer. 

How to manage innovation and digital entrepreneurship well?

To manage innovation and digital entrepreneurship well, it is important to follow some practices:

  1. Have a culture of innovation: It is important that the company's culture is focused on innovation, encouraging and valuing innovative ideas from employees.
  2. Foster creativity: Promote creativity within the company, stimulating the generation of new ideas and the development of new projects.
  3. Invest in technology: Stay up to date with the latest technologies and invest in digital tools that can contribute to digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
  4. Pay attention to market trends: follow market trends and changes in consumer behavior, so that the company can adapt and innovate according to market needs.
  5. Foster collaboration: Encourage collaboration between teams, promoting the exchange of ideas and knowledge.
  6. Encourage experimentation: Be open to trying new ideas and projects, without fear of making mistakes. Experimentation is an important part of the digital innovation and entrepreneurship process.
  7. Establish performance metrics: Define performance metrics to evaluate the success of innovation and digital entrepreneurship initiatives, allowing the company to adjust and improve its strategy over time.
  8. Have an engaged leadership: Leaders engaged and committed to innovation and digital entrepreneurship are essential for the success of innovation management in the company.

Entrepreneurship and innovation: examples

There are many examples of entrepreneurship and innovation in different sectors and areas. Below I list some examples:

  • Uber: revolutionized the transport industry, offering a more practical, safe and accessible alternative for users.
  • Airbnb: transformed the accommodation and travel market, offering a more economical and personalized alternative for travelers.
  • Nubank: changed the banking market, offering a more transparent and accessible alternative for consumers.
  • Tesla: renewed the automobile market, at the same time as it seeks to reduce the emission of polluting gases.
  • Netflix: revolutionized the entertainment market, offering a more practical and personalized alternative for consumers.

Spotify: transformed the way people consume music, offering a more accessible and personalized alternative for consumers.

Entrepreneurship and innovation at iFood

Finally, iFood carries the “genes” of innovation in its DNA. In this way, entrepreneurship and innovation go hand in hand, so much so that business areas have their own innovation specialists. 

One of the initiatives in this regard is the iFood Labs, innovation hub.

It is an environment to connect iFood to potential startups that can collaborate in testing, developing and co-creating solutions for the business. 

In this way, the company seeks to innovate, creating solutions that benefit customers, establishments and delivery people.

In fact, innovation is in iFood's DNA, so much so that it was elected one of the 10 most innovative companies in Latin America.

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