Abstract

Although entrepreneurial exit is an important part of the entrepreneurial process, it is currently overlooked in entrepreneurship research. In this study, we analyze the willingness of owners of small high-technology ventures to exit the business focusing on planned, harvesting exits. The willingness of an entrepreneur to exit an already established firm is likely to increase when the firm gets older and larger because the expected payoff for exiting increases as a firm grows. However, eventually the willingness to exit will likely start to decrease because exit oriented entrepreneurs have already done the exit and also because the stable income offered by a mature business might decrease the expected utility of an exit. Willingness to exit should be also linked to both growth aspirations and willingness to grow because both high growth and harvesting exit are often driven by owners seeking financial gains. Moreover, both a successful harvesting exit and running a growing business will increase the entrepreneur’s status in the society.

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