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THE TRIAD THEORY ESSENTIAL TO ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS
Stuart R. Monroe
CMS Department, Campus Box 45
Metropolitan State College of Denver
PO Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362
More than 15 years of pilot business development programs in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, France and the United States have coalesced the numerous intrinsic and extrinsic success variables into an evolving triad theory. This theory hypothesizes that the three key success factors of entrepreneurship can be categorized as; 1) entrepreneurial education, 2) qualification for access to capital, and 3) quality technical assistance and mentoring. Further, it is hypothesized that these key success factors are present in highly successful entrepreneurship programs that spawn, launch, and grow new business ventures.
This study reviewed the findings of longitudinal studies in the countries listed above. Of particular note were the Enterprise Development Demonstrations in the States of Washington, Massachusetts, and Connecticut; the Aspen Institutes Self-Employment Learning Project for microenterprise programs, and the national Premier FastTrac entrepreneurial training programs.
This study used growth in gross dollar sales and part-time and full-time job creation as the dependent variables to measuring the "success" of existing and new entrepreneurial ventures. It was hypothesized that: 1) gross sales are positively impacted by entrepreneurial training; 2) gross sales are positively impacted by access to capital; and 3) gross sales are positively impacted by technical assistance and mentoring. Further, it was hypothesized that 4) job creation is positively impacted by entrepreneurial training; 5) job creation is positively impacted by access to capital; and 6) job creation is positively impacted by access to technical assistance and mentoring. In addition, it was hypothesized that 7) the interrelatedness of entrepreneurial training, access to capital, and business counseling and mentoring is not significant. Nonparametric hypothesis testing was used to determine the associations between dependent and independent variables.
The data collection instruments for the microloan recipients was a five page questionnaire with 39 questions and a potential of 155 responses. The questionnaire was accompanied by a cover letter from the Greater Denver Local Development Corporation(GDLDC) and a promise of a small gift for all those who responded. The Premier FastTrac questionnaire was seven pages with 39 questions and 110 potential responses. Both questionnaires were parallel in format and question syntax.
The data used for this study was from 25 of 50 microloan recipients in the Denver, Colorado area and 272 of a 1700 sample of graduates of the national Premier FastTrac training program in California, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, and New York.
At this stage of the study the findings are very preliminary. Initial data analysis of the microloan recipients indicates a significant relationship between gross sales and the recipient of a microloan and preloan business training. Also, there is a significant relationship between total employment and receipt of a microloan and postloan business training. A significant relationship between the technical assistance and mentoring variables and the dependent variables has not been confirmed at this time. Tests of the additional hypotheses are in progress.
This study will identify the key variables that are precursors to successful urban and rural economic development programs and academic entrepreneurship programs. The results of this research will provide insights to sponsors and providers of entrepreneurial programs for curriculum design, program enrichment, assistance delivery, and overall program evaluation. Evidence of the validity of the triad theory of entrepreneurial success will provide needed guidance for public and private programs world wide.