Entrepreneurship plays an essential role in modern urban growth and development. Successful businesses engage more growth potential, but also failed ones produce significant losses. Therefore, in order to reduce losses, it becomes important to understand what contributes to entrepreneurial success. Based the character-based approach, the current study considers the entrepreneur a critical agent for the survival and success of the business, and aims to examine the differences between successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs in terms of human capital and personal characteristics. The sample consisted of 123 Romanian nascent urban entrepreneurs who participated in a government sponsored entrepreneurial support program and competed for a subsidy to start their business. A positive outcome in the competition (achieved by 39 study participants) was considered as entrepreneurial success. Based on the competition outcome, we split the sample in successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs and analyzed the differences between the two groups from the perspective of human capital and personal characteristics. In terms of human capital (education, professional experience, age, and sex), the results showed small differences between the successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs in the sample. In terms of personal characteristics, compared to their unsuccessful counterparts, the successful entrepreneurs registered increased levels of entrepreneurial self-efficacy, and of problem-solving confidence, higher levels of trust in their capacity of taking up challenges, increased levels of adaptive assertiveness, and a greater confidence in their ability to control their entrepreneurial behaviour. No significant differences were recorded for the need for autonomy, tolerance of ambiguity, risk-taking propensity, impulsivity, and interpersonal reactivity. The findings indicate that the personal characteristics of entrepreneurs may have different influences on their success, depending on the stage in their entrepreneurial career.
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