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Entrepreneurial learning in the context of portfolio entrepreneurship

Jari Huovinen (University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland)
Sanna Tihula (University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




Previous research has predominantly focused on the meaning of prior entrepreneurial experience in the context of habitual entrepreneurship. To date, however, little is known about how previous experience affects the way in which several firms can be managed simultaneously. The purpose of this study is to examine entrepreneurial learning in the context of portfolio entrepreneurship and clarify how it is possible to manage several firms at the same time.


An exploratory study using a case method was conducted (Eisenhardt; Yin) by focusing on one portfolio entrepreneur. In this study, the case can be considered as unusual thus being suitable for a single‐case study. Data were collected through interviews and the entrepreneur also provided the researchers with a written description of the development and present situation of his entrepreneurial career.


This study proposes that failures may develop entrepreneurial knowledge as well as founding experiences. Development of entrepreneurial knowledge is viewed as leading to new ways of organizing and managing start‐up firms. Learning through previous experiences has strengthened entrepreneurial knowledge and contributed to the formation of the management team (MT). Without cooperation, delegation and sharing responsibilities, successful portfolio entrepreneurship would not have been realized. However, the results suggest that learning from failure is dependent on the entrepreneur's personal background.


This study seeks to bring new insight to portfolio entrepreneurship by concentrating on the entrepreneurial career of a well‐known Finnish entrepreneur by following the framework of Politis. In this case, a MT in each firm enabled effective control and management of the current firm portfolio. The study shows that in addition to the entrepreneurial team, the management teams can also have a significant role in the context of portfolio entrepreneurship although they have largely been ignored.



Huovinen, J. and Tihula, S. (2008), "Entrepreneurial learning in the context of portfolio entrepreneurship", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 152-171.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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