Entrepreneurship is one of the four mainstream economic factors: land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship.
The word itself, derived from 17th-century French entreprendre, refers to individuals who were “undertakers”, meaning those who “undertook” the risk of new enterprise. They were “contractors” who bore the risks of profit or loss, and many early entrepreneurs were soldiers of fortune, adventurers, builders, merchants, and, incidentally, funeral directors.
Early reference to the entrepreneur in the 14th century spoke about tax contractors individuals who paid a foxed sum of money to a government for the license to collect taxes in their region.
In the 19th century, entrepreneurs were the “captains of industry”, the risk takers, the decision makers, the individuals who aspired to wealth and who gathered and managed resources to create new enterprises.
Notable early French, British, and Austrian economists wrote enthusiastically about entrepreneurs as the “change agents” of progressive economies.