What do we know about entrepreneurial finance and its relationship with growth?

What do we know about entrepreneurial finance and its relationship with growth?

Abstract

This article explores what we do (and do not) know about entrepreneurial finance and its relationship with growth. Broadly, there is a need for research to go beyond traditional supply side/market failure issues to better understand the role of entrepreneurial cognition, objectives, ownership types and firm life-cycle stages in financing/investment decisions. We show that little is known about the pivotal relationship between access to external finance and growth due to limitations in current approaches to testing financial constraints. Instead, we propose that the relationship between funding gaps and business performance as a direct and nuanced approach to identifying financial constraints in different entrepreneurial finance markets requires scrutiny. There is also a necessity for research to disentangle cognitive from financial constraints and to better understand the role of financiers in enabling growth. In particular, there is a need to explore the relationship between non-bank sources of finance and growth, shorn of inherent survival and selection bias. We outline an agenda for future research to address gaps in our understanding.