Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research
1996 Edition
SUMMARIES

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NEW VENTURE SCHOLARSHIP VERSUS PRACTICE: WHEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP ACADEMICS TRY THE REAL THING AS APPLIED RESEARCH


(1)Karl Vesper
(2)Ed McMullan

(1)University of Washington
School of Business
Seattle, WA 98195

(2)University of Calgary
Faculty of Management
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4

Telephone
(1)206-543-6737
(2)403-220-7143

Fax
206-685-9392

Principal Topics

Each of the authors undertook a venture after many years of study in the field of entrepreneurship. One a very small venture, book publishing. The other undertook a fairly large venture, chemical manufacturing. Neither, at this point, is a clear success or failure. But in the history of both can be seen better and poorer decisions. The question of principal interest was how academic learning either did help in making the better decisions or could have helped improve the poorer decisions.

Method

To evaluate the utility of scholastic entrepreneurship knowledge on these decisions, a conceptual scheme is imposed for exploring heurisitically how either the possession or lack of academic knowledge either helped or hindered venturing performance. Inferences were drawn about further academic applied research that should enhance the utility of academic knowledge available to would-be entrepreneurs in the future.

Major Findings

Two lists of things for scholars to do were developed from the findings. One contained 13 elements that could be added to entrepreneurship curricula to improve decision making during venture start-up. The second listed 12 topics of applied research that appeared to be worth pursuing to add knowledge useful to start-up entrepreneurs.

Implications

A principal intended value of the paper is to serve as a starting point for scholars to debate what academic learning either is or could be most useful to entrepreneurs during start-up. Whether other academics who have started ventures either would agree with these findings, or whether they would draw other conclusions from their venturing experience would be of particular interest. Other questions for the future whether academic study should serve the same purposes for students as for these academics and to how the conclusions might depend upon type of venture. Answers, we believe, can help steer the field toward serving all its constituencies better.

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