From ‘Great Expectations’ to ‘Hard Times’: A Longitudinal Study of Creative Graduate New Ventures

Richard Hanage, Jonathan Scott, Mark Davies

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    12 Citations (Scopus)
    98 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how digital creative graduates develop new businesses on graduating from university, and how their creative, business and personal lives interact until their nascent ventures fail financially. Design/methodology/approach – Seven digital creative nascent graduate entrepreneurs were followed for up to five years. Although independently assessed as having promise of business success, they were young and lacked business experience. They were followed through six-monthly semi-structured interviews which investigated their business, creative and personal development. The interviews were transcribed and key statements manually coded and extracted for analysis to identify issues, tipping points and outcomes. Findings – The primary contribution is the finding that, despite a promising beginning and very generous start-up support, all seven nascent ventures failed financially and most were closed down in favour of employment, particularly when personal issues such as parenthood sharpened the need for stable levels of income. The graduates demonstrated weaknesses in their commercial skills, especially selling (human capital) and insufficient utilization of networks (social capital) so that in the mainly mature low entry-barrier markets they were entering they were at a disadvantage from the outset. The research has also demonstrated the value of a real-time longitudinal qualitative approach to investigating businesses from business start-up to eventual exit. Practical implications – The insights gained have practical implications for start-up and survival support for creative graduate businesses, as well as raising issues about the effectiveness of postgraduate entrepreneurship education and cultural policy relating to this economically important sub-sector. Originality/value – The longitudinal approach has brought new insights and indicates several areas where more research would be valuable, especially in dealing with the consequences of unsuccessful nascent business ventures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-38
    JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2016


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