The Entrepreneurial Process: An International Analysis of Entry and Exit Defended on Thursday, 26 May 2011

This thesis deals with the entrepreneurial process from an international perspective. The first part explores which people decide to enter entrepreneurship. A distinction is made between two modes of entrepreneurial entry: taking over an existing firm and starting a new firm. The second part focuses on the exit side and examines the determinants of exit before and exit after business start-up. In addition, the decision to re-enter entrepreneurship after having experienced an entrepreneurial exit is analyzed in this second part.

This thesis is of particular interest to policymakers, partly due to its dynamic approach. That is, this thesis distinguishes between several stages that make up the decision to become an entrepreneur. The stages range from no entrepreneurial activity to intentional, nascent, young, and established entrepreneurship (the “entrepreneurial ladder”). The conclusions of this thesis may help governments to intervene at positions on the entrepreneurial ladder where certain characteristics, such as perceptions about the entrepreneurial environment, hinder entrepreneurial progress or where regions lag behind.

We find that people with pessimistic views about the administrative start-up environment are discouraged in having intentions or undertaking attempts to set up their own businesses (particularly in Europe). Policies should be aimed at tackling inflated perceptions of administrative barriers (in case of misperceptions of the environment) or directly lowering these barriers. Exit before start-up and exit after business start-up have different determinants. For example, urbanization is negatively related to exit before start-up and positively related to exit after start-up. This finding points at the presence of overoptimistic entrepreneurs and strong selection mechanisms in these areas. Furthermore, individuals are inclined to enter the entrepreneurial process again after having experienced an exit. This finding holds true for positive as well as negative exit experiences.


entrepreneurial process, international entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial entry, entrepreneurial exit, re-entry, mode of entry, credit constraints

Preferred reference

van der Zwan, P.W. (2011, May 26). The Entrepreneurial Process: An International Analysis of Entry and Exit (No. EPS-2011-234-ORG). ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from

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