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Entrepreneurship in young adults: Initial findings from the Young Entrepreneurs Study

Publication Authors: 
John Geldhof, Heather Malin., Sara K. Johnson, Tenelle Porter, Kendall Cotton Bronk, Michelle Weiner, Jennifer P. Agans, Megan Kiely Mueller, Dustin Hunt, Anne Colby, Richard Lerner, and William Damon
Publication Year: 
Publication Journal: 
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (35)5 410-421. DOI: 10.1016/j.appdev.2014.07.003.

The scientific study of youth entrepreneurship is truly in its infancy, with research on the development of entrepreneurship constrained by theoretical foundations that rely on static, trait-like approaches that equate entrepreneurship with stable personality characteristics. In this article, we define entrepreneurship as a fluid process that relies on the bidirectional interplay between a developing individual and his or her context. We report initial findings from the Young Entrepreneurs Study that clarify how entrepreneurial intentions and actions manifest in youth. We present quantitative analyses that examined the relations between entrepreneurial strengths and entrepreneurial activities in a sample of 3,461 college students, and we describe the results of semi-structured interviews from a 48-person subset of our larger sample that explored how entrepreneurial intentions and actions manifested in our sample. We describe a mixed-methods triangulation that integrates these two sets of findings, then discuss implications for future research.