Abstract

Entrepreneurship educators and practitioners alike often embrace the principle that experience automatically translates into improved performance in subsequent ventures. This experience- performance connection is not without any scientific basis: Research on learning curves points to a positive relationship between the two constructs, such that greater entrepreneurial experience should have a positive bearing on future performance. However, deeper investigations into this linkage have revealed more nuanced connections, such as the non-linear trajectory of entrepreneurial learning curves and the role that talent plays in translating experience into performance. As such, our research aims to uncover the specific barriers early-career entrepreneurs encounter, and to assess how and why entrepreneurial talent mitigates the negative transfer of learning. We focus on early-career entrepreneurs because their shorter careers help to both limit the unobserved heterogeneity from incomplete labor histories (often associated with inquiries into older populations) and make the initial impact of entrepreneurial experience and talent easier to identify.

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