Key Learning Outcomes

To be able to:

  • Provide a broad definition of enterprise, ensuring its relevance to a wide range of activities in personal, business and public life as well as business start-up.
  • Identify the characteristics of enterprising people.
  • Explain the basic enterprise skills.
  • Identify the importance of enterprise skills in areas such as home, school, local community, Government departments, and business start-up.
  • Analyse the importance of enterprise in business and the community.
  • Identify enterprise skills, opportunities, risks and rewards from given data.

Introduction: Enterprise

1  Enterprise is the ability to notice opportunities wherever they may present themselves, together with the willingness to take the chance so that the opportunity will not be missed, but will be exploited to the full – See and Seize the opportunity.

Enterprise is when an individual (or a group of people) takes the initiative to start something new. For example, enrolling in a night class (Personal Enterprise), organising a weekly lotto for a GAA club (Social Enterprise), and developing new types of taxes (Government Enterprise).

Entrepreneurship (Business Enterprise) is a particular type of Enterprise; it involves taking the risk of organising all the resources necessary to provide a product or service while exploiting the opportunity for a possible reward called profit. For example, developing new products, diversification into new markets: Facebook-Mark Zuckerberg; Xbox-Microsoft and iPhone-Apple.

An Intrapreneur engages in entrepreneurial activity/comes up with new ideas within the business in which s/he is employed. Intrapreneurs need the freedom and resources (human and capital) to pursue their ideas.

2  Characteristics associated with enterprising people include being decisive, being creative, being prepared to take risks and being persistent.

Being Decisive they have the ability to make quick and clear decisions so as not to miss opportunities, the issue of timing maybe crucial (e.g. decisiveness when dealing with suppliers and contractors).

Being Creative they are good at coming up with new ideas or new ways of doing things, thinking outside the box and they are prepared not only to be different but tend to have a vision of the future.

Being prepared to Take Risks they take measured/calculated risks which provide a reasonable chance of success and they take chances when opportunity strikes.

Being Persistent they are not afraid of failing, they embrace failure as a learning experience and do not give up because of obstacles.

3  Enterprise Skills – The following situation illustrates some enterprise skills and their importance:

“In 2015 Shay Doherty returned from Australia to set up a surfing school, Atlantic Surf, in County Donegal. He prepared a business plan and received a business start-up loan of €10,000 from Bank National Ireland Ltd. Having tried and failed in business in the past Shay realised that he needed to carry out some market research and get assistance with this venture. Shay contacted the Irish Surfing Association (ISA) and received valuable advice on health and safety legislation, on how to network and on the importance of having a web presence.”

Four enterprising skills shown by Shay are as follows.

(i)  Future Focused/Planning

Enterprising people recognise the importance of planning, the setting down of specific aims (objectives) and the putting in place of means that allow you to achieve the stated aims of the business.

LinkHe prepared a business plan and received a business start-up loan of €10,000 from Bank National Ireland Ltd.”

(ii)  Reality Perception/Realistic

Enterprising people are very realistic, seeing things for what they are. They are honest with themselves. They choose things that are achievable rather than desirable all the time; they do not go for the impossible.

LinkShay realised that he needed to carry out some market research and get assistance with this venture.”

(iii)  Networking/ Persuasive Abilities

Enterprising people recognise the importance of a wide range of contacts to provide guidance and support. Entrepreneurs need to be able to persuade others to their way of thinking.

LinkShay contacted the Irish Surfing Association (ISA) and received valuable advice on health and safety legislation, on how to network and on the importance of having a web presence.”

(iv)  Resilient /Confident

Enterprising people are not put off by failure. Entrepreneurs have a strong sense of self-belief and conviction about their own business ideas. Shay showed confidence and belief in Atlantic Surf. He sees failure as an opportunity to learn. Having ambition and having a strong desire for success or achievement is central to being an entrepreneur.

LinkIn 2015 Shay Doherty returned from Australia to set up a surfing school, Atlantic Surf, in County Donegal.  Having tried and failed in business in the past”

Note re: difference between enterprise characteristics and enterprise skills.

In examinations, the difference is often not important as questions are typically asked e.g. “Illustrate four enterprising characteristics/skills shown.” Characteristics are innate to the individual (in the person’s nature), whereas skills can be learned. Enterprise skills can be acquired from experience and training.

4  Enterprise in Action

Home: Enterprise is shown when people do something creative and innovative to improve family life e.g. DIY, budgeting or buying your own house.

School: Enterprise can be shown by teachers and students when they do something to improve school life e.g. school tours, drama productions or Young Scientist Exhibition.

Local Community: Clubs and associations throughout the community are run by people who use their initiative for the benefit of the local community e.g. Credit Union, Sports (GAA) clubs or Tidy Towns committees.

Government Departments: Employees and politicians can show intrapreneurship by coming up with new ideas for the benefit of the State e.g. new taxes, Lotto or lower speed limits.

Business Start-up: Entrepreneurs have the ability to identify an opportunity and a willingness to take risks to capitalise on it e.g. produce a good or provide a service.

Exam Q&A

Question 1

Read the information supplied and answer the questions which follow.

EducaPrint Ltd. is a business publishing schoolbooks in Ireland. John O’Leary, the Production Manager, suggested introducing some of its traditional print books in eBook format. He wanted to tap into the improvements in broadband speed and the major developments in mobile devices. The eBooks were launched onto the market in 2015 to great success. EducaPrint Ltd. operated a matrix organisation structure for the development of the eBook products.


Explain the term ‘intrapreneurship’.

Sample Answer (i)

Intrapreneurship involves entrepreneurial activity within the business. Employees come up with new ideas which may turn into profitable activities for the business.  Intrapreneurs are inventive, creative and innovative; they are constantly looking for ways of improving the business, without taking any personal financial risk.


Outline methods of promoting intrapreneurship in EducaPrint Ltd.

Sample Answer (ii)

  1. Empowerment/employee participation encourages creativity as it allows employees greater freedom in how to do their job by placing real power, responsibility and authority in the hands of employees.
  2. Financial rewards for effort and creativity. These rewards could involve a mixture of pay, incentives and benefits. For example a bonus or profit sharing scheme or share ownership scheme. John O’Leary could be given share options as a reward for his innovation.
  3. Teamwork encourages creativity among employees as it facilitates brain storming sessions as part of the product development process. The matrix structure used by EducaPrint Ltd. could encourage further intrapreneurship.
  4. Training program for employees and management, training them on the implementation of an intrapreneurial culture within a business, where it’s okay to make mistakes.


Question 2

Read the information supplied and answer the questions which follow.

Colm has decided to form a tidy towns committee in his local village and enter the ‘tidiest village’ category of the National Tidy Towns competition in 2017.


Discuss four entrepreneurial skills that Colm will require in developing this local community initiative.

Sample Answer (i)

  1. Human Relations: This involves directing and assisting people in order to ensure work is done effectively so that objectives can be met. Colm will need to positively influence his team of volunteers so that they contribute to achieving the group goals. Colm will need to encourage volunteers to put forward suggestions.
  2. Innovation/Creativity: Colm will have to come up with new ideas to make his local community initiative work. He will have to come up with a unique point to differentiate his local village from others to give it an edge in the competition. He will have to be creative in terms of identifying opportunities.
  3. Decision Making/ Decisive: Colm will have to be good at assessing situations, identifying options, weighing up the pros and cons and then deciding on the best option. Colm will have to make decisions on budget allocation, personnel in his team and leadership style.
  4.  Planning/Time Management: Colm may have to carry out a SWOT analysis of his village, to see how things are. Colm may achieve his longer strategic plan by engaging in shorter tactical plans such as: fundraising events over the year, Saturday morning clean ups over a six-month period, floral displays and signage.

Student Activity

Q1 Illustrate your understanding of the term enterprise.



Q2 Contrast ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘intrapreneurship’, giving one appropriate example in each case.






Q3 (i) Identify two enterprise skills and show how they can be used in a school.

Skill 1:


Skill 2:


Q4 In each case give two examples of enterprise in action.

(a) In the home:


(b) In a Business:


(c) In a government department:


Q5 List four enterprise characteristics important in a business.

1  Being…
2  Being…
3  Being…
4  Being…

Q6 Write true or false after each of these statements:

Sentences True or false
1. Decision making is choosing between alternatives ____
2. An intrapreneur sets up his/her own business ____
3. Entrepreneurs are not afraid to take a calculated chance (risk) ____
4. Time management is doing the most important jobs first ____
5. Innovation is waiting for someone else to make the first move ____


Q7 List two enterprise characteristics and show how each could be used in the local community.





Q8 Tom Ryan is the main shareholder in a busy electrical company. Tom had been working as a full-time electrician with a local building firm, with whom he served his time as an apprentice, when he realised that the construction industry was changing and that subcontracting of specific areas of work would become the norm. He set up Circuit Ltd to provide electrical services in 2014. He is very flexible with his customers and enjoys identifying new uses for existing technology.

Explain, using examples from the above text, the following enterprising characteristics/skills shown by Tom.

Risk Taking:




Reality Perception: