According to Inc magazine, there are 27 million entrepreneurs in the US alone.

That’s a LOT of entrepreneurs.

If there were 27 million entrepreneurs in Britain, if you weren’t one yourself, and there were two people in a room with you, there’d be a one in two chance that one of them would be one.

With maths skills like that I am clearly an entrepreneur, so if two people were with me in a room, I’d be the one showing them how to disrupt whatever they’re doing and turn it into a unicorn.

The trouble is, if there are 27 million entrepreneurs in the US, the term has sort of lost its cachet.

The word entrepreneur is borrowed from French.  It comes from a thirteenth-century French verb, entreprendre, meaning “to do something” or “to undertake.”

You can see why it is used pretty widely.  At home, for instance, I might say to my son, “Jeremy, could you use your entrepreneurial skills and put the recycling out?” [Jeremy, at this point, might innovate and outsource to his sister, creating a frictionless business model].

In the face of its over-use legions of entrepreneurs have started to become a bit entrepreneurial with the word entrepreneur, creating some portmanteau words to try to freshen it up a bit.

I quite like portmanteau words.  Things like Labradoodle, mockumentary, flavourite, snowmageddon and others.

There are some duffers, though, and I think most of the people messing with the word entrepreneur probably belong in the duffer camp.  Here are few classics that I’ve found…..


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Preneurpreneur is probably the worst.

There are loads more.

If you’re going to mess with a word, do it in a way that feels like it makes sense, and if it doesn’t, don’t do it.

I’m not a big fan of entrepreneur, because it’s tired and over-used.  It reeks of a self-aggrandising biography.  It is to the 2010s what ‘guru’ was to the 1990s.  If  you must use it, and must mess with it, make it something like contrapreneur (someone who does the unexpected), pontrapreneur (a dealer in old French bridges), fontrapreneur (typeface magnate) or wantrapreneur (generally successfully greedy type).  Better still, don’t use it at all.  Let others pin the medal on you.

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