Edited by J. Robert Mitchell, Ronald K. Mitchell and Brandon Randolph-Seng
Chapter 10: The infrastructure of entrepreneurial learning
The quantity and quality of entrepreneurial activity in a society are critically influenced by the extent to which people in that society possess knowledge relevant to the practice of entrepreneurship. In most times and places in history, the acquisition of entrepreneurial knowledge has been a relatively slow process, and a person’s ability to acquire it has often been restricted by his or her geographic location and social network. Over the past several decades, however, there has emerged a rich set of resources that help people acquire entrepreneurship-related knowledge. These new resources are characterized by (1) the large-scale codification of entrepreneurial knowledge through the development of books, periodicals, blog posts, podcasts, videos and other media that distill portions of what practicing entrepreneurs and others have learned, and (2) the formation of networks, markets and other social structures devoted specifically to the exchange of this knowledge. Although many of these resources are familiar to entrepreneurship scholars, their collective emergence and impact remain theoretically underappreciated. In this chapter, I propose a new way of thinking about these resources, and I consider their implications for future research. In particular, I propose that future scholars should pay more careful attention to the content of the knowledge people exchange through these mechanisms and to the potential for these mechanisms to shape the way people think about whether and how to start new ventures.
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