Would-be founders struggle with scarce resources and a lack of legitimacy. Entrepreneurs rarely have the time, human capital, physical, financial capital and strategic resources required to turn ideas into commercialized products by developing and launching an emerging enterprise. Why, when and how entrepreneurs overcome these barriers to successfully exploit opportunities are some of the central questions in entrepreneurship research (Acs & Audretsch, 2003). The focus of this paper is on the “how” question - specifically how founders obtain assistance from the local venture community in the developmental stages of “emerging” enterprises.

We label the assistance that these venture community members provide “Venture Advocate Behaviors” (VABs). We define VABs as voluntary behaviors members of the venture community engage in to help a founder in the emergent or early stages of his/her venture. Like Organizational Citizenship Behaviors in the corporate context (Organ, 1988), VABs lubricate the wheels of the venture community and are essential for its healthy functioning.