Dating back to the time of the medieval guilds in Germany, a craftsperson required special permission to operate as an entrepreneur, the small proof of competence (Kleiner Befähigungsnachweis), which restricted training of apprentices to craftspeople who held a Meister certificate. This institution was introduced in 1908 after a period of so-called freedom of trade (Gewerbefreiheit, introduced in 1871) in the German Reich. However, proof of competence was not required to start a business. In 1935 and in 1953, greater proof of competence was reintroduced (Großer Befähigungsnachweis Kuhlenbeck), which required craftspeople to obtain a Meister apprentice-training certificate before being permitted to set up a new business.
A broader definition of the term is sometimes used, especially in the field of economics. In this usage, an Entrepreneur is an entity which has the ability to find and act upon opportunities to translate inventions or technologies into products and services: "The entrepreneur is able to recognize the commercial potential of the invention and organize the capital, talent, and other resources that turn an invention into a commercially viable innovation."  In this sense, the term "Entrepreneurship" also captures innovative activities on the part of established firms, in addition to similar activities on the part of new businesses.
Entrepreneurship is one of the resources economists categorize as integral to production, the other three being land/natural resources, labor and capital. An entrepreneur combines the first three of these to manufacture goods or provide services. They typically create a business plan, hire labor, acquire resources and financing, and provide leadership and management for the business.
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Although the "self-made man" (or woman) has always been a popular figure in American society, entrepreneurship has gotten greatly romanticized in the last few decades. In the 21st century, the example of internet companies like Alphabet, fka Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB) – both of which have made their founders wildly wealthy – people are enamored with the idea of becoming entrepreneurs.
Stanford University economist Edward Lazear found in a 2005 study that variety in education and work experience was the most important trait that distinguished entrepreneurs from non-entrepreneurs A 2013 study by Uschi Backes-Gellner of the University of Zurich and Petra Moog of the University of Siegen in Germany found that a diverse social network was also important in distinguishing students that would go on to become entrepreneurs.
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