Graziadio Working Paper Series


The Entrepreneur Next Door: Characteristics of Individuals Starting Companies in America: An Executive Summary of the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics

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The Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics attempts to provide systematic, reliable data about the fundamental nature of the business start-up or entrepreneurial process. 830 nascent entrepreneurs were identified from a sample of 64,622 U.S. households, and their business startup activities were followed over a two-year period.

This executive summary reports the first stage of the initial sample of 64,622 households and the screening interviews. Four questions were investigated: (1) who is starting businesses, (2) how they start them, (3) which efforts result in new firms, and (4) why some startups become successful high-growth businesses. Five successful entrepreneurs are also profiled.

Among the findings: entrepreneurship is a widespread activity; about half of all new ventures are started by teams; men are twice as likely as women to start new businesses; except for people older than 65, entrepreneurship involves adults of all ages; blacks are about 50 percent more likely than whites to start businesses; education and household income significantly predict entrepreneurship; place affects entrepreneurial activity; and the impact of urban context varies for whites, blacks, and Hispanics.