The McGill International Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Marian V. Jones and Pavlos Dimitratos
Chapter 4: Portfolio Entrepreneurship: A Description and its Link to International Entrepreneurship
Sara Carter, Monder Ram and Pavlos Dimitratos INTRODUCTION Recent interest in the ‘portfolio entrepreneurship’ notion has been particularly noticeable, culminating in the publication of a dedicated research monograph in the UK (Westhead and Wright, 1998) and numerous journal articles including a special edition of Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice (Vol. 22). Portfolio entrepreneurship refers to the simultaneous ownership of several businesses (Carter and Ram, 2003). It appears to be a ubiquitous feature of especially the small-scale and family-dominated production. It has long been recognized that a considerable proportion of business founders have had previous experience of business ownership and that many own more than one ﬁrm (Oxenfeldt, 1943; Donkels et al., 1987; Birley and Westhead, 1993). While it is accepted that business survival is positively correlated to growth (Reynolds, 1993), recent research suggests that small business owners approach the growth process in a variety of ways (Scott and Rosa, 1996; Westhead and Wright, 1999). The analysis of business ownership activities of individuals suggests that some entrepreneurs are associated with a large number of enterprises (Kolvereid and Bullvag, 1992; Rosa and Scott, 1999). Moreover, it has been suggested that, where individual ﬁrm growth is restricted, for example by either ﬁscal or sectoral considerations, multiple business ownership may be used as a mechanism for achieving growth through the development of a portfolio of entrepreneurial interests (MacMillan, 1986; Donkels et al., 1987; Scott and Rosa, 1996). There appears to exist a broad consensus regarding the reasons for the apparent invisibility of portfolio entrepreneurship until...
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