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What makes entrepreneurship education distinctive is its focus on realization of opportunity, where management education is focused on the best way to operate existing hierarchies. Both approaches share an interest in achieving "profit" in some form (which in non-profit organizations or government can take the form of increased services or decreased cost or increased responsiveness to the customer/citizen/client).
Entrepreneurship education can be oriented towards different ways of realizing opportunities:
- The most popular one is regular entrepreneurship: opening a new organization (e.g. starting a new business).
- Another approach is to promote innovation or introduce new products or services or markets in existing firms. This approach is called corporate entrepreneurship or Intrapreneurship, and was made popular by author Gifford Pinchot in his book of the same name. Newer research indicates that clustering is now a driving factor. Clustering occurs when a group of employees breaks off from the parent company to found a new company but continues to do business with the parent. Silicon Valley is one such cluster, grown very large.
- A recent approach involves creating charitable organizations (or portions of existing charities) which are designed to be self-supporting in addition to doing their good works. This is usually called social entrepreneurship or social venturing. Even a version of public sector entrepreneurship has come into being in governments, with an increased focus on innovation and customer service. This approach got its start in the policies of the United Kingdom's Margaret Thatcher and the United States' Ronald Reagan.