Abstract

Research suggests that prior knowledge plays an important role in differentiating performance between novice and serial entrepreneurs (Westhead & Birley, 1993; Westhead & Wright, 1998; Westhead, Ucbasaran, & Wright, 2005). We suggest that there are two important areas of prior knowledge – startup specific knowledge and industry specific knowledge. We define startup specific knowledge as experience gained by an individual when the individual founded two or more business ventures that they owned and operated before starting their current business venture. This knowledge is tacit in nature and extremely difficult to codify or transfer to others. Further, we define industry specific knowledge as information concerning a certain industry that is available at a given point in time, and that could be acquired by individuals who are willing to invest resources in gaining that information. This may include such information as an understanding of the size and structure of the market and the key success factors in the market. The purpose of this research is to determine which of these two types of prior knowledge is more important for the entrepreneur to possess, in order to enhance the performance of the new venture.

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