Habitual Entrepreneurs

142 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2010

See all articles by Deniz Ucbasaran

Deniz Ucbasaran

University of Nottingham

Gry Agnete Alsos

University of Nordland - Nord University Business School

Paul Westhead

Durham University

Mike Wright

Nottingham University Business School

Date Written: 2008


This review explores the emerging debate relating to habitual entrepreneurs. Habitual entrepreneurs (also known as experienced or, latterly, repeat entrepreneurs) are a widespread phenomenon. An entrepreneur’s business ownership experience may differ according to the number of private businesses s/he has established, inherited and / or purchased. The nature of an entrepreneur’s business ownership experience may not be homogeneous. Some habitual entrepreneurs may exit one private business before owning a subsequent one (i.e., serial entrepreneurs), while others may start / purchase and retain ownership of several private businesses concurrently (i.e., portfolio entrepreneurs). This review compares the profiles, behavior and contributions of habitual entrepreneurs (i.e., serial and portfolio entrepreneurs) and novice entrepreneurs (i.e., entrepreneurs with no prior business ownership experience). The theoretical and policy cases for distinguishing between different types of entrepreneur are made. Differences between types of entrepreneur are examined in terms of their human capital profiles (e.g., education, motivations and skills). Behavioral differences are examined with regard to the acquisition of resources, opportunity identification, pursuit and mode of exploitation, and organizational strategies. Finally, entrepreneur and firm performance differences between the different types are reviewed. Policy and practitioner implications are raised and assuming an interventionist stance, the case for targeted assistance toward habitual, serial and portfolio and novice entrepreneurs is discussed. Avenues for additional research attention are highlighted relating to the following themes: the nature of opportunities; information search; leveraging human capital; entrepreneurial teams; measures of habitual entrepreneurship; the role of the external environment; contexts for habitual entrepreneurship; and methods and data issues.

Contents: 1) Introduction. 2) Defining Novice, Habitual, Serial and Portfolio Entrepreneurs. 3) The Scale of the Habitual Entrepreneur Phenomenon. 4) The Case for Distinguishing Between Different Types of Entrepreneurs. 5) Empirical Evidence. 6) Policy and Practitioner Implications. 7) Future Research. 8) Conclusions.

Suggested Citation

Ucbasaran, Deniz and Alsos, Gry Agnete and Westhead, Paul and Wright, Mike, Habitual Entrepreneurs (2008). Foundations and Trends in Entrepreneurship Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 309-450, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1625444

Deniz Ucbasaran (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Gry Agnete Alsos

University of Nordland - Nord University Business School ( email )

Bodø, 8049

Paul Westhead

Durham University ( email )

Old Elvet
Mill Hill Lane
Durham, Durham DH1 3HP
United Kingdom

Mike Wright

Nottingham University Business School ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom
+44 115 951 5257 (Phone)
+44 115 951 5204 (Fax)

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