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Success tales aren’t nearly cash

L’entrepreneurship is at the center of current concerns as a vector of employment, integration and transition in France and around the world. The public sector strongly promotes entrepreneurial dynamism, with some success: the growth in the number of Business creation in France in 2021 is 17%.

Still, the world of entrepreneurship is diverse, with a palette of reality ranging from the coveted fantastical beasts – unicorns (eg tarnishing worth more than $1 billion) and Gazelles (rapidly growing young companies) – to the Entrepreneurs in needknowing that 64% of the organizations created are micro-enterprises: These are micro-entrepreneurs, ie auto-entrepreneurs or sole traders.

There are also many myths surrounding entrepreneurship: the academic and business worlds in particular initially meet unsuccessfully to identify with one another Characteristics of Entrepreneurs who succeeds.

The objective of this article, presented at the online symposium Congrès International Francophone en Entrepreneurship et PME (CIFEPME) 2020, seeks to offer decentering by proposing a resource-based approach: we describe entrepreneurial capital as a sum of human, cultural, social, economic, financial, symbolic, physical and psychological determinants that feed the entrepreneurial process and constitute fundamental elements to Evaluation of a business start-up project.

“Money is not a problem”

This approach sheds additional light on financial capital alone to identify it other forms of mobilized resources in the entrepreneurial process. Furthermore, this dynamic vision allows to emphasize that any form of capital can be valued, accumulated, developed, devalued or transformed depending on the social context.

When we talk about capital, the first thing that comes to mind is the definition of economic and financial capital, which is easily measurable and represents the accumulation of multiple types of wealth, such as production tools, securities, real estate and all other inheritance. The literature recognizes a paramount role in the success and sustainability of a company: the probability of success of start-up companies and their initial performance depend on their initial financial resources, regardless of the environment and organization.

It should be noted that it is easier to mobilize additional funds when the initial contribution is high and then the capital creates a virtuous cycle, as stated by an executive who bought a company in his 50s:

Money is not a problem. The bigger it is, the easier it is to borrow it. A donation of 50,000 euros as a credibility guarantee for a box worth 10 million euros is not a problem.

Furthermore, social or human capital can be viewed as convertible into financial capital, networks can be mobilized to raise funds; The founder’s diploma or job can also reassure banks that are more inclined to lend. Then a dynamic sets in, positive in the case of an individual already equipped with other forms of capital, negative in the opposite case.

” Never give up “

To the physical capital known as health, the first intangible asset of the entrepreneur, there is added the psychological capital, self-efficacy, hope, optimism or even that resilience as the entrepreneur’s internal resources: Psychological capital is associated with better performance, with a reduction in emphasize Perception, positive attitudes, higher job satisfaction and greater engagement.

These skills are absolutely necessary, especially for entrepreneurs, as the proves Transcript from Helena:

I have a kind of tiger inside me; Would I be so combative if I hadn’t had this fate? I have a real determination, a great strength of character: I want to leave the business world, where women are always taken hostage, and I decide to start my own business … I became unemployed, I don’t know how many times, and each one Sometimes I tried to recover, to tell myself “there is always a solution”… my motto: whatever happens, never give up.

the human capital and cultural can be acquired through education, training and work experience: it is the totality of abilities, both physical and intellectual – knowledge and knowledge, skills, abilities. Research shows that higher education and management experience, for example, are key elements in the success of a business start-up project, as is previous entrepreneurial experience, which helps build confidence (self-efficacy), spot new opportunities and master the necessary networks.

The course of Frederic Mazzella is not at fault in this regard. The future creator of BlaBlaCar, a good student, joined Normale Sup, then went to Stanford to study computer science and came back knowing he would start his own company:

I had no commercial knowledge. In general, I attach great importance to education. I couldn’t imagine getting into some entrepreneurship without having been trained in it first.

That social capital theory refers to actors’ ability to benefit from social structures, professional networks, family structures and various other spheres to which they belong. The research underlines the importance of involving stakeholders in the entrepreneurial project and using its networks, starting with support structures: Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Business Angels, Pepite, etc.


The two creators of MÊME, a cosmetics line for women with cancer, in testify :

We joined the HEC incubator, then Sciences Po. Each brought us specific skills, useful contacts and we found offices at Sciences Po. The exchange with other start-up founders and incubator managers enabled us to take a step back and organize our actions.

They also join the Cancer Campus, the incubator of the Institut Gustave-Roussy, the leading cancer center in Europe, which offers them the scientific support they need. The incentive effect of having a relative or close friend who is an entrepreneur is also very strong: the latter can compensate for limitations in human capital (leadership skills) or in financial terms and provide valuable emotional support (psychological capital).

Finally, symbolic capital is a kind of meta-capital that emerges from another capital (economic, social, cultural) when the latter receives public recognition. It manifests itself in material form: surname, education, resort, clothing, sports and cultural practices, language, and is based on perception in a group of other forms of possession: authority, knowledge, prestige, reputation, diplomas, honorary degrees , etc.

A strong symbolic capital allows the entrepreneur, even without know-how or financial resources, to benefit from trust because of his name, his reputation, his face. It is therefore a kind of alchemy of the different material forms of capital, financial, human, social, which transcends them into a powerful immaterial and relational capital, the transformation of which occurs in both directions.

From this capital arise the “success stories” of “serial entrepreneurs” like Xavier Niel, boss of Free or Benjamin SaadaFounder of Expliseat and Fairmat, visionary, full of diplomas, 15 patents on his account and darling of “deep tech” (companies that develop innovative technologies) who can raise the impressive sum of 8.6 million euros in the start-up phase: “augmented Entrepreneur” in a way.

Entrepreneurship is therefore not just a question of motivation or money: an assessment of the entrepreneur’s entrepreneurial capital, in all its diversity, is a fundamental element in assessing his ability to carry out his project, which allows providing solid tools, especially for supporting a real dynamic one and comprehensive barometer. This capital is maintained, exchanged, developed and needed arbitration : Investing financial capital to convert it into human capital, for example, is complex and takes time, but it can be profitable for an entrepreneur.

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