Background of Entrepreneurs

Understanding the background of entrepreneurs is essential to understanding how firms develop and the people who create them.

This section delves into the behavioral determinants and motivation of entrepreneurs, human capital, the teams and networks behind entrepreneurship, and what we know about entrepreneurial demographics including age, gender, immigration, and race.

Behavioral Determinants and Motivations

We know that entrepreneurs are the sum of their life experience. We know that there is no single “entrepreneurial personality.” We know that entrepreneurial behaviors are dynamic in that they evolve over time. This section explores what we currently understand about the characteristics and cognitions of entrepreneurs: how they behave, what motivates them, and why.

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Entrepreneurship demographics include age, gender, immigrant status, and race of the entrepreneur, among others. This section presents an understanding of how these traits matter when starting a business.

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Human Capital


Human capital research delves even deeper into entrepreneurs’ specific characteristics and demographic traits. The questions of who chooses a particular path in the first place and who gets ahead and why lead this discussion of human capital and entrepreneurship.

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Teams and Networks


Ninety-five percent of individuals trying to start a business either involved others to help in some significant capacity or intend to do so in the future. Networks serve as important conduits through which information flows, giving well-connected entrepreneurs access to crucial information about potential opportunities. These networks provide advice, resources, and other practical forms of support. While a great deal of research has taught us about entrepreneurial teams and networks, much is still unknown about the key mechanisms that bring together individuals during the founding process and what kind of causal effect they have on performance.

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