Opportunity Recognition

In order to understand entrepreneurship, it is crucial to learn where business opportunities or potential innovations come from. Opportunities can occur as a result of serendipity. In other words, they can spring from a flash of genius. However, this is not always the case. Most, especially the successful ones, result from a conscious, purposeful search for new ideas and opportunities.


This unit begins by identifying the sources of innovation which lead to opportunity. Next it provides an example of some practical idea generation tools. The unit then describes the difference between an opportunity and an idea.


Learners are reminded that many firms fail, not because the entrepreneurs involved didn’t work hard, but because there was no real opportunity to begin with. The unit concludes by describing methods that can help you to evaluate ideas and opportunities.


Learning Objectives

When you have successfully completed this unit, you will be able to:

  • Determine where ideas come from.
  • Use various idea generation tools.
  • Explain the difference between an opportunity and an idea.
  • Present general approaches entrepreneurs use to identify opportunities.


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Unit Elements

How to set up a company in different countries

National case studies on Entrepreneurship






Ent-teach- Entrepreneurship Teaching - project code 2011-1-NL1-LEO05-05202. This project has been funded with support from the European Commission through the Leonardo da Vinci - Lifelong Learning Programme. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.