In this paper the assumption is made that the efficiency and effectiveness of the policies supporting entrepreneurship could be increased with adequate preventive screening of beneficiary entrepreneurs or would-be entrepreneurs. Not all individuals generically described as entrepreneurs are capable of successfully starting up or running an entrepreneurial venture, in other words firms that usually operate in the more innovative and predictable sectors of future growth, anyway associated with a clear contribution to local development. This paper, using empirical research conducted on a sample of 101 firms, highlights some personal characteristics (from personal traits to motivation) of the Southern Italian entrepreneurs in order to understand, according to the main theories to be found in the business and managerial economic literature, their potential and, indirectly, the potential of the firms they run.
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