This paper examines the effects and origins of balanced skills among nascent entrepreneurs. In a first step we apply Lazear’s jack-of-all-trades theory to investigate performance effects of a balanced skill set. Second, we investigate potential sources of balanced skills, thereby testing the investment hypothesis against the endowment hypothesis. Analyzing data on high-potential nascent projects, we find support for the notion that balanced skills are important for making progress in the venture creation process. Regarding the origins of balanced skills, the data support both hypotheses. In line with the investment hypothesis an early interest in an entrepreneurial career, prior managerial and entrepreneurial experience are significantly related with a more balanced skill set. Supporting the endowment hypothesis, an entrepreneurial personality profile indicating entrepreneurial talent is correlated with a balanced skill set. Our results thus hint at the need for theories on the origins of a balanced skill set that integrate both views.
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