Title: Enterprise, entrepreneurship and small business: where are the boundaries?

Authors: John P. Breen

Addresses: Small Business Research Unit, Victoria University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract: The terms enterprise, entrepreneurship and small business are frequently used in the context of education and small business formation. Particular countries have preference for the use of the terms in specific circumstances, for example, entrepreneurship is more common in the USA and Canada, while enterprise is more often used in the UK and Australia. Because the terms are often used interchangeably, there is confusion about their exact meaning. In Australia, the term entrepreneur has negative connotations not related to the true meaning of the word. This has confused the general public and the poor image that is associated with the term is often then shared with the other terms. The purpose of this paper is to clearly set out distinctions between the three terms in order to improve the level of understanding of the issues where the terms are commonly used. It involves an analysis of the literature to identify similarities and distinctions particularly in areas of education and business start-ups. The findings indicate that while there is a degree of overlap between the concepts, with the boundaries blurred in certain areas, it is possible to differentiate between the three terms

Keywords: enterprise; entrepreneurship; small business; definitions; Australia; terminology.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2004.005375

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2004 Vol.1 No.1/2, pp.21 - 34

Published online: 29 Sep 2004 *

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