A first conclusion is that - relying on the opinions of the entrepreneurs themselves - role models matter for pursuing an entrepreneurial career. The use of entrepreneurial role models appears wide spread: 54 percent of the entrepreneurs have a role model in the pre- and/or post-start-up phase. Of these entrepreneurs, 81% has a role model before starting up their venture and 63% has a role model within the first three years of the business’ operations. Almost half of these entrepreneurs have a role model both pre-and post-start-up, with the majority leaning on the same role model in these two different stages. All these percentages are even higher for first ventures: 27% of our sample consists of experienced entrepreneurs who are less inclined to use role models. This information confirms the potential of role models to serve as a self- reinforcing mechanism when entrepreneurship is gaining popularity in a country or region.
Second, role models are viewed as influential persons by a significant proportion of the entrepreneurs who use them in the start-up phase of their venture. One third of the entrepreneurs with a role model at the time of start-up claim they would not have started up their venture without this role model. One fifth of the entrepreneurs claim they would not have continued their business without the role model they have post-start- up. These findings suggest that role models play an important role for entrepreneurs in (young) firms.That is from an interesting study by Bosma et al. published in the latest number of the Journal of Economic Psychology. The article is titled "Entrepreneurship and Role Models." See a draft here.