Five Myths about Entrepreneurs: Understanding How Businesses Start and Grow

28 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2008 Last revised: 29 Jul 2014

Date Written: March 1, 2001


Entrepreneurial growth companies are only a small portion of the companies in the United States, but they play a large role in creating jobs and fueling the economy. Nonetheless, confusion about these fast-growing companies produces diffuse or misdirected efforts to support this key sector, which creates problems for policymakers attempting to promote entrepreneurship.

For these reasons, the report describes the key features of successful entrepreneurial growth companies. The report is based on results of nationwide focus groups conducted by the National Commission on Entrepreneurship, and research by Amar Bhide.

The first section describes the key features of entrepreneurial growth companies, including origins, productivity gains, and growth. The second section dispels common myths about what makes entrepreneurial growth companies successful. Identified are the "risk-taking myth," the "high-tech invention myth," the "expert myth," the "strategic vision myth," and the "venture capital myth." The third section explores broad policy considerations important to supporting continued entrepreneurship growth in the United States. These include sharing risks and rewards, fostering and protecting innovation, fostering expertise, improving planning and strategy, and creating a vibrant capital market.

Keywords: Firm growth, Growth strategies, High technology industries, Innovation process, Novice entrepreneurs, Public policies, Risk management, Startups, Strategic planning, Venture capital

Suggested Citation

Russo, Alexander T., Five Myths about Entrepreneurs: Understanding How Businesses Start and Grow (March 1, 2001). Available at SSRN: or

Alexander T. Russo (Contact Author)

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