The entrepreneur is a factor in and the study of entrepreneurship reaches back to the work of Richard Cantillon and Adam Smith in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. However, entrepreneurship was largely ignored theoretically until the late 19th and early 20th centuries and empirically until a profound resurgence in business and economics since the late 1970s. In the 20th century, the understanding of entrepreneurship owes much to the work of economist Joseph Schumpeter in the 1930s and other Austrian economists such as Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek. According to Schumpeter, an entrepreneur is a person who is willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation. Entrepreneurship employs what Schumpeter called "the gale of creative destruction" to replace in whole or in part inferior innovations across markets and industries, simultaneously creating new products including new business models. In this way, creative destruction is largely responsible for the dynamism of industries and long-run economic growth. The supposition that entrepreneurship leads to economic growth is an interpretation of the residual in endogenous growth theory and as such is hotly debated in academic economics. An alternative description posited by Israel Kirzner suggests that the majority of innovations may be much more incremental improvements such as the replacement of paper with plastic in the making of drinking straws.
One consensus definition of bootstrapping sees it as "a collection of methods used to minimize the amount of outside debt and equity financing needed from banks and investors".[136] The majority of businesses require less than $10,000 to launch,[137][self-published source] which means that personal savings are most often used to start. In addition, bootstrapping entrepreneurs often incur personal credit-card debt, but they also can utilize a wide variety of methods. While bootstrapping involves increased personal financial risk for entrepreneurs, the absence of any other stakeholder gives the entrepreneur more freedom to develop the company.

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