Entrepreneurs do much more than manage small businesses. At the heart of entrepreneurship is the discovery process. An idea is conceived and then exploited for profit. But if the idea is neither useful nor unique, its exploitation will generate only average profits. Therefore, the idea and the process that leads to its discovery are of the utmost importance to the success of any new venture. Can the discovery process be taught, or must one be born with the talent to unearth promising opportunities? Fiet argues that entrepreneurial discovery can indeed be taught, and he proposes a theory of the informational elements that constitute the discovery process.
Entrepreneurship as an academic discipline has often been criticized for lacking intellectual rigor and a theoretical foundation. Fiet supplies both in this scholarly book, which approaches entrepreneurial competence from an academic perspective. There are three primary characteristics of entrepreneurial competence: tacit knowledge of an entrepreneur's field of endeavor, which can be improved by trial and error; the knowledge of decision rules that enable one to make rational informational investments based upon the signals of opportunities; and the unequal distribution of entrpreneurial competence among the population. Recognizing that entrepreneurs start out at different stages of competence, Fiet asserts that anyone cam improve using his book as a pedagogical aid. This volume fills a void in the entrepreneurship literature, which too often is indistinguishable from that which informs courses on small business management.