This study investigates if and in what way social entrepreneurs are hampered in turning their efforts into sustainable organizations. Using binary logit regressions and unique data containing approximately 26,000 individual-level data points for 36 countries, this study assesses the influences of perceived environmental barriers, risk variables, and socio-demographic variables on the probability of being a social entrepreneur versus a commercial entrepreneur. Our findings confirm that socially motivated entrepreneurs are less likely to survive the earliest levels of entrepreneurial engagement. Several factors have been identified to explain this underperformance. Compared to commercial entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs perceive more financial and informational start-up barriers, are more afraid of personal failure and bankruptcy, and can be found in the lower and higher age categories. In addition, this study found that social entrepreneurs are more likely to be female and highly educated than are their commercial counterparts.

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ERIM Report Series Research in Management
ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Hoogendoorn, B, van der Zwan, P.W, & Thurik, A.R. (2011). Social Entrepreneurship and Performance: The Role of Perceived Barriers and Risk (No. ERS-2011-016-ORG). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from