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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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Entrepreneurs

Derived from the French word entreprendre, entrepreneur means to undertake, or refers to one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. This basic definition holds the key word of risk. People who start their own enterprises in the petroleum industry are risk-takers, who believe the advantages and rewards are worth the challenges.

When the first oil and gas discoveries were made, there was no industry so it had to be created by investors and people with vision. Albert Leroy Ellsworth founded one of the first Canadian oil companies in 1906. He created the British American Oil Company (BA) after spending nine years working at a Standard Oil refinery. S. R. Parson was the first President of BA, with Mr. Ellsworth as Secretary Treasurer. The location of the first BA Office Building was in Toronto, Ontario. Even today, many people who worked for larger companies left to begin their own. With years of experience and planning, the new entrepreneur in the oil and gas industry may not succeed. A business plan for any endeavour has to consider what the business environment is currently like, how to market the product, operations of the business, how to secure financing, and what the risks and benefits will be. More and more consortiums are taking the risks, and are headed by one person with a strong vision for the company. The Syncrude consortium was formed in 1964, with Frank Spragins as the first company president. As a result of his guidance, Syncrude is now a top oil sands producer in Canada.

For more information on entrepreneurship, visit the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce website (http://www.edmontonchamber.com/) or any banking website.

 

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