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The Etymology And History Of The Word Entrepreneur

En·tre·pre·neur a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.



In 2017, new businesses have not yet reached the highs they were achieving prior to the 2008 financial crisis. Ten years ago, the country was setting records for small and independent business development, records we anticipate breaking in the near future, thanks in part to small business capital loans that enable businesses to do more than ever before.

Thanks to the modern ubiquity of companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon, and the stories of the people who made them into the proliferating forces they are today, the term ‘entrepreneur’ has a more impressive and awesome connotation than ever before. However, the word itself, has an interesting origin, one rooted in the history of modern economics.

Entrepreneur is derived from two Latin words, “entre”, which means to swim out, and “prendes,” which means to grasp or grab hold of. Entrepreneur can be traced back to France in the 1700s; at that time it was a term used to describe a promoter, particularly one involved in theatre.

When Jean-Baptiste Say wrote Treatise on Political Economy in 1800, he used the word entrepreneur to describe an “adventurer.” The book outlined an economic theory that positioned individuals who created and ran businesses as the most important factors in wealth redistribution. Say was a business owner himself, manufacturing cotton and employing as many as 500 people at one time.

Irishman Richard Cantillon was the first to use the term entrepreneur in a semi-modern context in his Essay on the Nature of Commerce in 1755, but Jean-Baptiste Say used the term extensively to describe individuals who founded businesses.

Thomas Jefferson was so impressed by Jean-Baptiste Say’s economic theories that he attempted to persuade him to come to the United States and teach. Though Say would never step foot on American soil, his imprint was felt in the development of the American free market.


It wasn’t until 1934 that the term entrepreneur took on its connotation as a person who disrupts and introduces new ideas when Joseph Schumpeter wrote Theory of Economic Development: An inquiry into profits, capital, credit, interest and the business cycle [sic].  Schumpeter defined the entrepreneur as “the person who destroys the existing economic order by introducing new products and services, by creating new forms of organization, or by exploiting new raw materials.”

Today, the global economy is the biggest it has ever been. Small and medium businesses are growing coast-to-coast across the U.S., offering their local communities better products and services.

Entrepreneurs are undeniably risk-takers, using merchant cash funding to create new and exciting businesses that can transform elements of our everyday lives for the better.

No one said being an entrepreneur was easy and when they need extra capital, Fast Capital 360 is here to help. To learn more about bad credit business loans, restaurant financing or any of our other lending programs, give us a call today at 1-800-735-6107.


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