Sharing lessons from experience (hereafter war stories) by successful entrepreneurs is a common practice in training programs for de novo entrepreneurs. Yet, war stories’ content and their effects on audiences is unknown. We examine this issue through a field-experiment in Singapore during 2019-2020, on 339 de novo entrepreneurs randomly assigned to two treatment arms: training by successful entrepreneurs sharing their war stories or training by experienced instructors imparting structured innovation strategy frameworks. We tracked venture performance until 2022. Abductive analysis of war-stories’ content revealed that successful entrepreneurs encouraged de novo entrepreneurs to focus on their ventures’ survival. Furthermore, ventures led by de novo entrepreneurs exposed to war-stories treatment experienced comparatively greater revenue growth, especially when successful and de novo entrepreneurs were similar on nationality or race.
Contact: Marina Chugunova
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