Academic entrepreneurs are key actors in modern, knowledge-based societies as they play a particularly important role in transforming new knowledge created at universities and research labs into new products and production processes. But who becomes an entrepreneur and why?
Based on the predictions from recent theoretical developments the focus of the current paper is on the access to knowledge and, in particular, on the role of the individual and regional knowledge context. Making use of a unique dataset for German students and regions allows us to analyze a variety of personal and regional determinants of entrepreneurial intentions among students.
At the individual level we find that role models facilitating the transfer of tacit knowledge and the expectation that close network ties will provide know-how and know-who have a positive impact on entrepreneurial intentions. At the regional level we find that a high regional start-up rate and a high growth rate of regional knowledge production positively influence entrepre-neurial intentions. The results have important implications both for future research and for policy.