Media, policy makers and researchers are giving attention to entrepreneurship training. The usual content is focused on how to start, grow and be successful. However, the process of entrepreneurship is characterized by many trials and errors, where we can see failure and success of companies. In our research, we fill the gap of understanding the context and the decisions taken before a failure and find ways to learn and overcome those episodes. As a result, we aim to derive lessons for (future) entrepreneurs, students in entrepreneurship, policymakers, and professionals supporting entrepreneurs.
We strive to create awareness regarding the occurrence of failure and the steps leading to recovery. By doing so, we show that failure and recovery are usual steps of the entrepreneurial process.
We focus on the decisions taken in a context where a failure is identified, and the strategies to learn from and overcome those episodes. As a result, we derive lessons for (future) entrepreneurs, students in entrepreneurship, policymakers and professionals supporting entrepreneurs.
A failure is a period of serious problems during an entrepreneurial venture that was caused by a wrong product placement, a business idea that was too innovative, a bankruptcy, a reduction of the workforce or involuntary termination of the company. It is usually associated with a bad financial situation, together with personal worries and administrative difficulties.
The episodes of failure, recovery, and success are gathered through semi-open interviews. Our research focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises, and for now, excludes self-employed types of entrepreneurship. The data is analyzed in qualitative categories combined with quantitative techniques to find patterns of behavior of the entrepreneurs. We care to anonymize as much as needed to protect sensitive personal details and the financial situation of the company.
We search for entrepreneurs who have lived through periods of serious problems during their entrepreneurial venture. It can be a wrong product placement, a business idea that was too innovative, a bankruptcy or involuntary termination of the company or the reduction of the workforce. Each story matter to understand different economic sectors and different personalities of the entrepreneurs. Our research focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises, and for now, excludes self-employed types of entrepreneurship.
When entrepreneurs share their stories, the AUAS contributes to creating awareness and understanding of this common, but usually ignored side of entrepreneurship. Verbalizing the experience could also be beneficial as entrepreneurs experience a powerful and valuable opportunity to reflect on themselves. The relationship of interviewees with students could evolve into a mentorship to shape entrepreneurs who recover faster and better from problematic situations. All participating business owners can be sure that their stories exclusively for scientific and educational purposes. We care to anonymize as much as needed to protect sensitive personal details and the financial situation of the company.
Dr. Ingrid Wakkee, AUAS Professor of Entrepreneurship is the initiator and project leader of this project along with Dr. Frank Jan de Graaf, AUAS Professor of Corporate Governance and Finance. They are both responsible for the monitoring of the objectives as well as for the high scientific standards. Mr. Juanfra Alvarado, Msc., and Mrs. Drs. Jeanne Martens are the senior researchers on this project who are responsible for the design of data collection tools and data analysis. Mrs. Clary van der Veen works as a videographer for media material used in this project.
More experienced entrepreneurs provide a useful approach and mentorship guidance; together we can formulate lessons (financial, social, emotional and others) to reduce and to speed up your own recovery process as well as from others. Each entrepreneurial story matters to understand different economic sectors and different personalities.
Let’s develop a useful tool to provide advice in scenarios of failure and recovery. We work together with different companies, non-profit organizations, municipalities and financial actors to prevent failure and support the recovery process.
Let’s adapt the teaching materials to be used for the profile of your students. We have workshops and presentations about the causes of failure and the patterns of recovery. We guide with a manual to use entrepreneurial stories as learning assignments.