We use insights from social capital theory and institutional theory to study how societal level collectivism and trust facilitate or constrain the emergence of social and commercial entrepreneurship. Social capital theory can be used as an appropriate lens to study the linkages between the entrepreneurship of both forms. While researchers have examined how institutions enable individuals to undertake commercial entrepreneurship, their effects on social entrepreneurship warrants further research. In order to develop our hypotheses we integrate the dimensions of ‘deal’ and ‘context’ of Sahlman’s (1996) framework to understand how societal level collectivism and trust facilitate the likelihood of individual social and commercial entrepreneurial entry. We develop a cross-level model hypothesizing national-level effect on individual entrepreneurial decisions.