Small Business Economics

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 913–930 | Cite as

Drivers of high-quality entrepreneurship: what changes did the crisis bring about?

  • Ioannis Giotopoulos
  • Alexandra Kontolaimou
  • Aggelos Tsakanikas


This paper examines antecedents of high-quality entrepreneurship in European countries before and after the financial crisis that burst in 2008. In a context of ambitious entrepreneurship, we consider three quality aspects of early-stage entrepreneurship referring to innovativeness, export orientation, and high-growth intentions of entrepreneurs. Using microlevel data retrieved from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) annual surveys, we investigate whether the role of gender, education, opportunity perception, and motives of early-stage entrepreneurs changes between crisis and noncrisis periods. Our results show that the perception of business opportunities has a particularly pronounced effect on high-quality entrepreneurship in adverse economic conditions. We also find that the beneficial effects of educational attainment on growth intentions strengthen in times of crisis. Finally, the gender effect on entrepreneurs’ high-growth intentions and export orientation appears to be stronger in the crisis period, implying that ambitious female entrepreneurship suffers more in the midst of crisis.


High-quality entrepreneurship Crisis Growth intentions Innovativeness Export orientation 

JEL classification

L21 L26 M13 O31 F23 



The authors would like to thank two anonymous referees and the participants of the Technology Transfer Society (T2S) Annual Conference held at the University of Bergamo for their constructive comments and suggestions. We would also like to thank the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), i.e. the Greek participating organization in GEM, for providing us the data for our work.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, School of Economy, Management & InformaticsUniversity of PeloponneseTripoliGreece
  2. 2.Centre of Planning and Economic Research (KEPE)AthensGreece
  3. 3.Department of Chemical Engineering, Laboratory of Industrial and Energy EconomicsNational Technical University of AthensAthensGreece

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