A central development in entrepreneurship is the growth of nascent entrepreneur research through which statistically representative samples of venture start-up efforts and/or firms in gestation are evaluated over time (Davidsson 2006). While highly valuable, large research projects investigating entrepreneurship like the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics (PSED) and its counterparts reveal random samples of start-ups being dominated by low potential, imitative ventures. This is in contrast with theoretical and policy interest which focus on high growth/innovative ventures.

Therefore, it is important to supplement PSED-type samples with theoretically representative samples of the ‘higher end’ emerging ventures. This is what we attempt in this research.

Our first contribution is to develop a way to capture a judgment sample of high potential startups based on novel, multiple screening criteria. Our second contribution is to compare process of development between high potential and ‘regular’ start-ups.