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Entry by JoeDerhake


Environmental consulting is a fine field for entrepreneurship; in fact that is how I ended up in this field.

In college I did internships with Texas Instruments and a medium-sized environmental consulting firm.   Upon graduation I turned down an offer to work as an engineer in Texas Instrument’s semiconductor division for a job as a staff engineer with PSI, because I thought that the environmental consulting field offered great entrepreneurial opportunities.   Of course, there may have been a few opportunities in the field of information technologies—what can I say I was 22 years old.

Change creates opportunity.  Changes in laws, the economy, or technology can create new opportunities for entrepreneurs.   Ability to adapt to change is the entrepreneur’s advantage over big companies.  

What is intrapreneurship?  Intrapreneurship is simply entrepreneurship within a larger company.   While that may seem like an oxymoron, if the company is structured right it is possible and my company, Partner Engineering and Science, is proof.

In my view, three important elements of intrapreneurship are:

Control:  Obviously the entrepreneur must have a strong degree of control over their business within a business.  This requires a good relationship with the company’s management and a management structure that is not prone to micromanagement.    

Equity:  Creating something of value is difficult.  If the entrepreneur is going to do this within a company instead for themselves, they must believe that they can ultimately realize the value that they create.   Beware of phantom equity.   Ultimately the entrepreneur must have some solid contractual rights.

Platform: If the entrepreneur decides to create within a company instead of on her own, then she must get something in return.   The company must bring a lot to the table and the company must be good at these functions.   A few things that the company can contribute are:  capital, technology, brand, a sales force, and common corporate functions (HR, IT, accounting etc…). 

If you want to be an entrepreneur, go for it!  If you are in a position in life that does not allow you to take a lot of risk, consider sharing the risk with a Partner.   Intrapreneurship might be for you. 


career, job, hiring, employment, environmental consulting, entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, Partner