High-growth entrepreneurs : the relevance of business knowledge and work experience on venture success

11 May 2009

In Africa high-growth entrepreneurs are scarce, and in SA entrepreneurial activity is dominated by necessity entrepreneurship with low expectations of growth and job creation. The paper focuses on opportunity entrepreneurs who are responsible for job creation. The sample (n = 171) is randomly drawn from the JCCI population membership base, who qualify on established individual and organizational level criterion to represent high-growth entrepreneurs. Building on previous research on entrepreneurial characteristics, competencies, knowledge, work experiences, skills, capabilities, education, training, and success indicators, the study measures business knowledge and work experience and relates these to different levels of venture success. Various chi-square-based tests are used to detect the strength of the relationship between the variables; in particular, statistically significant relationships are found between employment growth, higher levels of education, previous work experience and successful venture indicators. Practical and policy implications follow.