The extent and nature of opportunity identification by experienced entrepreneurs
Guided by insights from cognitive theories, this article explores the links between entrepreneurs' prior business ownership experience and their opportunity identification behavior. Hypotheses were tested using data from 630 entrepreneurs. Experienced entrepreneurs identified more opportunities and exploited more innovative opportunities with greater wealth creation potential. Entrepreneurs that had owned more than 4.5 businesses, however, identified fewer opportunities. The nature of prior business ownership experience also shaped opportunity identification behavior. An inverse U-shaped relationship was detected between the proportion of failed businesses relative to the number of businesses owned and the number of opportunities identified in a given period. Business failure experience was not associated with the innovativeness of exploited opportunities.
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