Proactive Entrepreneurs: Who Are They and How Are They Different?

 -The Journal of Entrepreneurship

Why do some individuals willingly risk their finances, careers, reputations, and personal relationships to pursue their own business ventures on a full-time basis? Who are these individuals and how do they differ from individuals who choose not to engage in these activities? In this study, we refer to them as proactive entrepreneurs and we attempt to identify the unique personal characteristics they possess when compared to non-entrepreneurs.



Entrepreneurs are progressive, dynamic and they represent critical sparkplugs for economic vibrancy (Zachary & Mishra, 2011). They are presumed to possess a unique set of beliefs, attitudes and personal characteristics, which act as motivators for enterprise development (cf. Baron, Franklin, & Hmieleski, 2013Rogers, Viding, & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2013Wong & Carducci, 2016). However, despite the significant and impressive body of literature dedicated to this issue, findings between studies related to uniqueness in the psychology of entrepreneurs are often inconsistent and frequently yield weak, non-existent or non-replicable results (cf. Murnieks, Mosakowski, & Cardon, 2014). The root of inconsistencies may be linked to the differing motivations for, and the many different expressions of entrepreneurship. These differences can make successfully isolating any generalisable uniqueness of the broad spectrum of entrepreneurs, challenging.

We believe that dividing entrepreneurs into subcategories based on their motivation for and type of engagement offers the potential to identify common personal characteristics that are consistently replicable within each subcategory. Since entrepreneurs are considered vital to vibrant economies, extending the understanding of their unique characteristics is fundamentally important to organisations, such as governmental agencies and educational institutions, that are interested in supporting their endeavours.

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