Portfolio Entrepreneurship In Family Firms

Taking Stock and Moving Forward

Authored by: Naveed Akhter

The Routledge Companion to Family Business

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138919112
eBook ISBN: 9781315688053
Adobe ISBN: 9781317419990


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Entrepreneurship plays an important role in society by creating wealth, enhancing economic prosperity and fostering growth (Shane and Venkataraman 2000, Venkataraman 1997). However, the notion that entrepreneurs start single ventures has been challenged by scholars who have identified a special breed of entrepreneurs who rely on endeavors with multiple income streams (Carter, Tagg, and Dimitratos 2004, MacMillan 1986, Rosa and Scott 1999, Ucbasaran, Westhead, and Wright 2001). Indeed, not all entrepreneurs create just one business, and growth-seeking entrepreneurs, in particular, tend to engage in multiple business activities simultaneously—in addition to their primary business—by means of portfolio entrepreneurship (Alsos, Carter, and Ljunggren 2014, Carter 1999, Carter and Ram 2003, Carter et al. 2004). Portfolio entrepreneurship is defined as the “simultaneous ownership of several businesses” (Carter and Ram 2003, 371); it contributes to the overall society and the economy and is regarded as a fundamental element to understanding entrepreneurship and growth (see also Alsos and Kolvereid 1998, Carter and Ram 2003, Jaffe and Lane 2004, MacMillan 1986, Wright, Westhead, and Sohl 1998). As previously reported, portfolio entrepreneurship frequently results in significantly greater sales, employment growth, innovation and firm survival (e.g., McGaughey 2007, Ucbasaran et al. 2008, Wiklund and Shepherd 2008).

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