The "network approach to entrepreneurship" is a prominent theoretical perspective within the literature on entrepreneurship. This literature assumes that network resources, networking activities and network support are heavily used to establish new firms (network founding hypothesis). Further, those entrepreneurs, who can refer to a broad and diverse social network and who receive much support from their network are more successful (network success hypothesis). Based on a study of 1,700 new business ventures in Upper Bavaria (Germany), the article gives an empirical test of the network success hypothesis. It is argued that one reason, why previous studies did not consistently find positive network effects, may be that social capital (network support) is used to compensate shortfalls of other types of capital (human capital and financial capital). This compensation hypothesis, however, does not find empirical confirmation. On the other hand, however, the network success hypothesis proves to be valid in our analyses, i.e. network support increases the probability of survival and growth of newly founded businesses.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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