Previous literature has investigated the determinants of entrepreneurial activity focusing either on the external factors explaining the emergence of new firms or on the importance of personal traits. While both valuable, these perspectives have some shortcomings. The main shortcoming of the first approach is its failure to take into account personal characteristics of entrepreneurs and to consider changes in the sample over time, whilst the second approach has been criticised for using small samples and adopting cross-sectional methods. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the entrepreneurship literature by bringing together these two perspectives, taking into consideration both the contextual variables and the personal factors that may account for new business creation.