Small Business Economics

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 669–683 | Cite as

Born to be alive? The survival of innovative and non-innovative French micro-start-ups

  • Tristan Boyer
  • Régis Blazy


Based on French data describing the characteristics of entrepreneurs and their projects, this article studies the differences between the determinants of survival for innovative and non-innovative micro-enterprises. We show that the survival of innovative and non-innovative enterprises is linked to personal criteria such as age, gender, belonging to a minority, professional experience and financing sources. Our results also highlight the positive effect of not being alone in the start-up design phase, whereas being involved in a business network after the start-up period has no significant influence. The survival time of innovative enterprises, which is significantly lower than that of the non-innovative ones, seems adversely influenced by the entrepreneur’s previous management experience. Finally, when considering both innovative and non-innovative start-ups, there appears to be a type of “pecking order” as bank financing has a much more positive effect on survival than a personal one, although when focusing solely on innovative ones this difference does not exist.


Entrepreneur Innovation Micro-enterprise Survival Pecking order 

JEL Classification




We woud like to thank Jully Jeunet, Gwenaël Piaser and Eric Strobl for their support and valuable comments.


  1. Abdesselam, R., Bonnet, J., & Le Pape, N. (2004). An explanation of the life span of new French firms. Small Business Economics, 23(3), 237–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agarwal, R. (1998). Small firm survival and technological activity. Small Business Economics, 11, 215–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, A., Park, J., & Jack, S. (2007). Entrepreneurial social capital. International Small Business Journal, 25(3), 245–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andersson, P., & Wadensjö, E. (2007). Do the unemployed become successful entrepreneurs? International Journal of Manpower, 28(7), 604–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Åstebro, T., & Bernhardt, I. (2005). The winner’s curse of human capital. Small Business Economics, 24, 63–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Audretsch, D. (1991). New-firm survival and the technological regime. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 73(3), 441–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Audretsch, D. (1995). Innovation, growth and survival. International Journal of Industrial Organization, 13(4), 441–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Audretsch, D., & Keilbach, M. (2004). Does entrepreneurship capital matter? Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 28(5), 419–429.Google Scholar
  9. Audretsch, D., & Mahmood, T. (1995). New firm survival: New results using a hazard function. Review of Economics & Statistics, 77(1), 97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bates, T. (1990). Entrepreneur human capital inputs and small business longevity. Review of Economics & Statistics, 72(4), 551–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bates, T. (2002). Restricted access to markets characterizes women-owned businesses. Journal of Business Venturing, 17(4), 313–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bönte, W., Falck, O., & Heblich, S. (2009). The impact of regional age structure on entrepreneurship. Economic Geography, 85(3), 269–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brinckmann, J., Grichnik, D., & Kapsa, D. (2010). Should entrepreneurs plan or just storm the castle? A meta-analysis on contextual factors impacting the business planning performance relationship in small firms. Journal of Business Venturing, 25(1), 24–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brüderl, J., Preisendörfer, P., & Ziegler, R. (1992). Survival chances of newly founded business organizations. American Sociological Review, 57(2), 227–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Buddelmeyer, H., Jensen, P., & Webster, E. (2010). Innovation and the determinants of company survival. Oxford Economic Papers, 62(2), 261–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Burke, A., Fraser, S., & Greene, F. J. (2010). The multiple effects of business planning on new venture performance. Journal of Management Studies, 47(3), 391–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cader, H., & Leatherman, J. (2011). Small business survival and sample selection bias. Small Business Economics, 37, 155–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Caliendo, M., & Kritikos, A. (2010). Start-ups by the unemployed: characteristics, survival and direct employment effects. Small Business Economics, 35, 71–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Carter, R., & Auken, H. V. (2006). Small firm bankruptcy. Journal of Small Business Management, 44(4), 493–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Carter, S., Shaw, E., Lam, W., & Wilson, F. (2007). Gender, entrepreneurship, and bank lending: The criteria and processes used by bank loan officers in assessing applications. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 31(3), 427–444.Google Scholar
  21. Cassar, G. (2004). The financing of business start-ups. Journal of Business Venturing, 19(2), 261–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Casson, M. (2005). Entrepreneurship and the theory of the firm. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 58(2), 327–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Casson, M., & Giusta, Md. (2007). Entrepreneurship and social capital. International Small Business Journal, 25(3), 220–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Cefis, E., & Marsili, O. (2005). A matter of life and death: innovation and firm survival. Industrial and Corporate Change, 14(6), 1167–1192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Coleman, S. (2007). The role of human and financial capital in the profitability and growth of women-owned small firms. Journal of Small Business Management, 45(3), 303–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Colombo, M., & Grilli, L. (2005). Founders’ human capital and the growth of new technology-based firms: A competence-based view. Research Policy, 34(6), 795–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Colombo, M., Delmastro, M., & Grilli, L. (2004). Entrepreneurs’ human capital and the start-up size of new technology-based firms. International Journal of Industrial Organization, 22(8), 1183–1211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Cooper, A., Gimeno-Gascon, F., & Woo, C. (1994). Initial human and financial capital as predictors of new venture performance. Journal of business venturing, 9(5), 371–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Cox, D. (1972). Regression models and life-tables. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B (Methodological), 34(2), 187–220.Google Scholar
  30. Cressy, R. (1996). Are business startups debt-rationed? Economic Journal, 106(438), 1253–1270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Cueto, B., & Mato, J. (2006). An analysis of self-employment subsidies with duration models. Applied Economics, 38(1), 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Dadzie, K., & Cho, Y. (1989). Determinants of minority business formation and survival: An empirical assessment. Journal of Small Business Management, 27(3), 56–61.Google Scholar
  33. Dahlqvist, J., & Wiklund, J. (2012). Measuring the market newness of new ventures. Journal of Business Venturing, 27(2), 185–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Delapierre, M., Madeuf, B., & Savoy, A. (1998). NTBFS—the French case. Research Policy, 26(9), 989–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. DGCIS. (2009). Les chiffres—clés des tpe-pme. Tech. rep., Ministère de l’Économie, de l’industrie et de l’emploi.Google Scholar
  36. Dimov, D. (2010). Nascent entrepreneurs and venture emergence: Opportunity confidence, human capital, and early planning. Journal of Management Studies, 47(6), 1123–1153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Du Rietz, A., & Henrekson, M. (2000). Testing the female underperformance hypothesis. Small Business Economics, 14(1), 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Fairlie, R., & Robb, A. (2009). Gender differences in business performance: Evidence from the characteristics of business owners survey. Small Business Economics, 33, 375–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Freel, M. (2000). Do small innovating firms outperform non-innovators? Small Business Economics, 14, 195–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Freel, M. (2007). Are small innovators credit rationed? Small Business Economics, 28, 23–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ganotakis, P. (2010). Founders’ human capital and the performance of uk new technology based firms. Small Business Economics, 39(2), 495–515.Google Scholar
  42. Gartner, W. (1989). “who is an entrepreneur?” is the wrong question. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 13(4), 47–68.Google Scholar
  43. Gicheva, D., & Link, A. (2013). Leveraging entrepreneurship through private investments: Does gender matter? Small Business Economics, 40(2), 199–210.Google Scholar
  44. Görg, H., & Strobl, E. (2003). Multinational companies, technology spillovers and plant survival. Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 105(4), 581–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Grilli, L. (2011). When the going gets tough, do the tough get going? The pre-entry work experience of founders and high-tech start-up survival during an industry crisis. International Small Business Journal, 29(6), 626–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Harada, N. (2003). Who succeeds as an entrepreneur? An analysis of the post-entry performance of new firms in japan. Japan and the World Economy, 15(2), 211–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Holmes, P., Hunt, A., & Stone, I. (2010). An analysis of new firm survival using a hazard function. Applied Economics, 42(2), 185–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Holtz-Eakin, D., Joulfaian, D., & Rosen, H. (1994). Sticking it out: Entrepreneurial survival and liquidity constraints. Journal of Political Economy, 102(1), 53–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Honig, B., & Karlsson, T. (2004). Institutional forces and the written business plan. Journal of Management, 30(1), 29–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Hormiga, E., Batista-Canino, R., & Sánchez-Medina, A. (2011). The impact of relational capital on the success of new business start-ups. Journal of Small Business Management, 49(4), 617–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Karlsson, T., & Honig, B. (2009). Judging a business by its cover: An institutional perspective on new ventures and the business plan. Journal of Business Venturing, 24(1), 27–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kautonen, T. (2008). Understanding the older entrepreneur: Comparing third age and prime age entrepreneurs in finland. International Journal of Business Science and Applied Management, 3(3), 3–13.Google Scholar
  53. Kautonen, T., Luoto, S., & Tornikoski, E. (2010). Influence of work history on entrepreneurial intentions in ‘prime age’ and ‘third age’: A preliminary study. International Small Business Journal, 28(6), 583–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kiefer, N. (1988). Economic duration data and hazard functions. Journal of Economic Literature, 26(2), 646–679.Google Scholar
  55. Lévesque, M., & Minniti, M. (2006). The effect of aging on entrepreneurial behavior. Journal of Business Venturing, 21(2), 177–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Littunen, H. (2000). Networks and local environmental characteristics in the survival of new firms. Small Business Economics, 15, 59–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. López-Gracia, J., & Sogorb-Mira, F. (2008). Testing trade-off and pecking order theories financing smes. Small Business Economics, 31, 117–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Lorrain, J., & Laferte, S. (2006). Support needs of the young entrepreneur. Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 19(1), 37–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Luger, M., & Koo, J. (2005). Defining and tracking business start-ups. Small Business Economics, 24, 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Lussier, R. (1995). A nonfinancial business success versus failure prediction model for young firms. Journal of Small Business Management, 33(1), 8–20.Google Scholar
  61. Lussier, R., & Halabi, C. (2010). A three-country comparison of the business success versus failure prediction model. Journal of Small Business Management, 48(3), 360–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Marvel, M., & Lumpkin, G. (2007). Technology entrepreneurs’ human capital and its effects on innovation radicalness. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 31(6), 807–828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Muñoz-Bullón, F., & Cueto, B. (2011). The sustainability of start-up firms among formerly wage-employed workers. International Small Business Journal, 29(1), 78–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Myers, S., & Majluf, N. (1984). Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have. Journal of financial economics, 13(2), 187–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Niskanen, M., & Niskanen, J. (2010). Small business borrowing and the owner–manager agency costs: Evidence on finnish data. Journal of Small Business Management, 48(1), 16–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Paul, S., Whittam, G., & Wyper, J. (2007). The pecking order hypothesis: Does it apply to start-up firms? Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 14(1), 8–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Pfeiffer, F., & Reize, F. (2000). Business start-ups by the unemployed - an econometric analysis based on firm data. Labour Economics, 7(5), 629–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rauch, A., Frese, M., & Utsch, A. (2005). Effects of human capital and long-term human resources development and utilization on employment growth of small-scale businesses: A causal analysis. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 29(6), 681–698.Google Scholar
  69. Reid, G., & Smith, J. (2000). What makes a new business start-up successful? Small Business Economics, 14, 165–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Roper, S., & Scott, J. (2009). Perceived financial barriers and the start-up decision. International Small Business Journal, 27(2), 149–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Rosenbusch, N., Brinckmann, J., & Bausch, A. (2011). Is innovation always beneficial? a meta-analysis of the relationship between innovation and performance in smes. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(4), 441–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Saemundsson, R., & Dahlstrand, Å. (2005). How business opportunities constrain young technology-based firms from growing into medium-sized firms. Small Business Economics, 24, 113–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sánchez-Vidal, J., & Martín-Ugedo, J. (2005). Financing preferences of spanish firms: Evidence on the pecking order theory. Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, 25, 341–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Schmitz, J. (1989). Imitation, entrepreneurship, and long–run growth. Journal of Political Economy, 97(3), 721–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Schumpeter, J. (1939). Business cycles. A theoretical, historical and statistical analysis of the capitalist process. New York, Toronto, London: McGraw-Hill Book Company.Google Scholar
  76. Schumpeter, J. (1942). Capitalism, socialism and democracy. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  77. Shane, S. (2009). Why encouraging more people to become entrepreneurs is bad public policy. Small Business Economics, 33, 141–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Shrader, R., & Siegel, D. (2007). Assessing the relationship between human capital and firm performance: Evidence from technology-based new ventures. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 31(6), 893–908.Google Scholar
  79. Storey, D. (2011). Optimism and chance: The elephants in the entrepreneurship room. International Small Business Journal, 29(4), 303–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Taehyun, A. (2011). Racial differences in self-employment exits. Small Business Economics, 36, 169–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Tegarden, L., Echols, A., & Hatfield, D. (2000). The value of patience and start-up firms: A re-examination of entry timing for emerging markets. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 24(4), 41–58.Google Scholar
  82. Thornton, P., Ribeiro-Soriano, D., & Urbano, D. (2011). Socio-cultural factors and entrepreneurial activity. International Small Business Journal, 29(2), 105–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Unger, J., Rauch, A., Frese, M., & Rosenbusch, N. (2011). Human capital and entrepreneurial success: A meta-analytical review. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(3), 341–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Walker, E., & Brown, A. (2004). What success factors are important to small business owners? International Small Business Journal, 22(6), 577–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Wennekers, S., & Thurik, R. (1999). Linking entrepreneurship and economic growth. Small Business Economics, 13, 27–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Wong, P.K., Ho, Y.P., & Autio, E. (2005). Entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth: Evidence from gem data. Small Business Economics, 24, 335–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IPAG-LABParisFrance
  2. 2.IEP Strasbourg, EM Strasbourg Business SchoolStrasbourgFrance

Personalised recommendations