A New Entrepreneurial Spirit

By Grant T. Smith

entrepreneurMany of the people I work with on a day-to-day basis are entrepreneurs. If you are an entrepreneur, or if the spirit of entrepreneurship exists in your bones, then this article is dedicated to you.


I have often puzzled over what actually makes one an entrepreneur…


Webster’s Dictionary says: “One who takes the initiative to create a product or establish a business for profit; generally, whoever undertakes on his own account an enterprise in which others are employed and risks are taken.”


The Oxford English Dictionary says this about the origin: “early 19th century (denoting the director of a musical institution): from French, from entreprendre ‘undertake’.


Finally, the Urban Dictionary (once I selectively review and perhaps edit for permissible language) has this to say: “We are the risk takers. We are the ones who want to make it big in life. Our peers will go job-hunting with a piece of paper called a “degree” while we are creating our own jobs. We are the boss. We’re the ones who hire people.”


I include the Urban Dictionary definition because I feel the word entrepreneur has changed during the course of my lifetime. For example, I often think that being an accountant who runs his own practice is not being an entrepreneur. The definitions above contain a lot more about risk and insight than often occurs when one is a practicing CPA. A professional can have their own business and thus meet the definition provided by Websters and Oxford, but it is not until the business starts to take real risks by breaking boundaries that it becomes the entrepreneur of the Urban Dictionary.


Through much of my reading of late, I have learned and understood that there is a new generation engaging a new entrepreneurial spirit. Writing articles over the last few years, I have learned that the millennial generation is not homogenous – it is vibrant, diverse, and alive. Day after day I meet young people who want to achieve business goals and who want their business efforts to help support their life goals, which are focused on creating a better lifestyle, and in many cases a better world.


Last week I had the opportunity to attend the fundraiser for a new not-for-profit, an amazing organization called, ShEvalesco, which was created by Alison McKenzie. (Find them on Facebook here or visit their website here). ShEvalesco is a non-profit empowering young women with the knowledge, strategies and tools to confidently navigate life after high school. The focus is:

  • effective communication and self-advocacy
  • financial literacy
  • in building resilience through mental and physical well-being


In other words, ShEvalesco is building entrepreneurs.


At their fundraiser, we had the opportunity to listen to five empowered women speak on the topic of “The Mountains We’ve Climbed to Get Here.” Each of these women embodied the spirit of entrepreneurialism, and each shared their unique experiences.


Each of these women, while telling us about their journey and their mountains climbed, was assisting in developing the journeys of young women. In this way, they are building entrepreneurs. McKenzie inspires me as one of the new generation of entrepreneurs. In particular, I admire the building of a not-for-profit as an entrepreneurial enterprise designed to develop leaders. This new generation breaks the rules and we should be proud of them.