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This paper has provided an exploratory analysis of different types of habitual entrepreneurs.  In respect of portfolio and serial founders, significant differences were identified in terms of the age of the founders when starting their first businesses, parental background and  the work experiences of the founders.  Differences between the habitual founders were also noted with regard to reasons leading to start-up, personal attitudes to entrepreneurship and sources of finance used during launch.  Our analysis,  suggests habitual entrepreneurs cannot be treated as a homogeneous group.

Presented findings have implications for practitioners.  The absence of significant performance differences between novice and habitual entrepreneurs emphasizes the need for venture capitalists screening potential investees not to rely simply on previous experience but to analyze carefully the assets and liabilities of entrepreneurs' earlier background and whether experienced entrepreneurs have the motivation to undertake a subsequent venture.  Given the differences between serial and portfolio entrepreneurs, venture capitalists need to examine carefully the objectives of potential investees with previous experience.  Further work examining the links between venture capitalists and serial entrepreneurs would seem warranted.

Evidence presented here and elsewhere suggests researchers and policy-makers must appreciate there is a variety of types of entrepreneurs (as well as firms).  Future research attention must, therefore, focus upon developing frameworks and theories which better describe the variety of career options open to entrepreneurs.  In addition, future research should monitorall the businesses established / owned by portfolio and serial founders and inheritors/purchasers of businesses.  Cohorts of different types of founders and inheritors/purchasers (and their firms) need to be monitored over time to provide a more accurate assessment of the scale and nature of entrepreneurship.

The finding that prior experience did not lead to significantly higher business performance raises a number of issues for researchers.  There is scope for large scale research which examines carefully the relative importance of different assets and liabilities of previous entrepreneurial experience.  Moreover, there is a need to appreciate that prior entrepreneurial experience per se may be a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the enhanced performance of a subsequent venture.  A major issue is whether the entrepreneur is able to identify an opportunity the second time around which can achieve greater performance than the first.  Future research might usefully examine the processes used by these different types of entrepreneur in searching for, entering and growing their first and subsequent ventures.  Habitual entrepreneurs may be sufficiently competent covering less routine areas of entrepreneurship.  However, they may be less competent at growing their business above a modest size and scale of development.  This suggests a need to explore the attributes and behavior of entrepreneurs who have succeeded in growing their businesses to larger sizes and greater performance levels.  In order to identify more closely the learning experience, there is also scope for further academic research which compares both the subsequent experiences of first time successful versus unsuccessful entrepreneurs, and the prior experiences of successful versus unsuccessful habitual entrepreneurs.

Additional research evidence will enable policy-makers to make more appropriate resource allocation decisions toward potential or different types of practising entrepreneurs.  The evidence presented in this paper suggests that policy-makers desiring to target scarce resources to firms that generate the vast majority of jobs should appreciate prior venture experience does not necessarily ensure that this type of founder will subsequently establish / own a high growth venture.  Moreover, the existing pool of experienced entrepreneurs may not be the source of high growth potential ventures.  Efforts, therefore, may be needed to encourage more talented nascent entrepreneurs to become novice entrepreneurs.


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