Serial entrepreneurs are business owner-operators who commence, operate and dispose of a number of business ventures. Whilst most entrepreneurial activity is related to one specific venture, serial entrepreneurs progressively “work through” a variety of different enterprises over time. Although the existence of such continuous or habitual entrepreneurs has been occasionally noted, little is presently known about the nature of such enterprising individuals and their firms. This paper draws on responses by 199 micro-small firms in New South Wales, Australia, to construct a more detailed picture of serial entrepreneurs. It examines the background and characteristics of these owner-operators, some aspects of their current operations, and whether the businesses of these serial entrepreneurs are more likely to grow than other entrepreneurial ventures. The results indicate that serial entrepreneurs tend to be male, relatively well educated, aged between 30–49, and Australian-born. Many (just under half) come from a family with a prior background in business ownership. A third of them concurrently operate another business, and the majority have a strong growth orientation. Testing of data between serial and other entrepreneurs revealed some statistically significant differences between the two cohorts. Compared to other entrepreneurs, serial entrepreneurs are more likely to concurrently operate another business; less likely to operate their current venture as a home-based enterprise; and more likely to want to expand their business in future. Serial entrepreneurs, when compared to other entrepreneurs, also tend to be slightly older, are more likely to be male, and are more inclined to buy a business as a going concern.
Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Vol. 20, Issue 1, p. 15-24