Empirical research has recently paid considerable attention to the role of environmental factors in explaining regional variations in entrepreneurial activity. However, cognitive models have not usually included these factors in their analyses. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to identify some of the environmental cognitive elements that may explain regional differences in start-up intentions. Thus, an entrepreneurial intention model is developed, theoretically based on the planned behaviour approach, institutional economic theory and social capital theory. The empirical analysis is carried out using structural equation techniques over a sample of 549 final year university students from two Spanish regions (Catalonia and Andalusia). Results confirm that valuation of entrepreneurship in each region helps explain regional differences in entrepreneurial intentions. As expected, social valuation of the entrepreneur was higher in the more developed region (Catalonia), positively affecting perceived subjective norms and behavioural control. In Andalusia, the influence of perceived valuation of the entrepreneur in the closer environment was more important, affecting attitude towards the behaviour and subjective norms. These results explain some of the differences in the pool of potential entrepreneurs in each region. They also justify the need by publicpolicy decision-makers to promote more positive entrepreneurial values in relatively backward regions.