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Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship Awards Prizes to Two PhD Students

The Kauffman Foundation, a leading promoter of entrepreneurship, announced the winners of the 2005-2006 Dissertation Fellowship grants. The awards recognize cutting-edge research in entrepreneurship.

Two PhD candidates at Chicago GSB received fellowships. Ola Bengtsson’s research focuses on how entrepreneurs are financed by venture capitalists. His dissertation, “A Study of Repeated Relationships between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs”, examined data on 1500 serial entrepreneurs. Among his findings was that a failed entrepreneur is twice as likely to repeat VC relationships compared to a successful entrepreneur. According to Bengtsson’s research, one factor which made that more likely was if the entrepreneur’s startup was a good fit with the VC’s portfolio preferences, and if the startup was located outside California.

Nikolai Roussanov is the other GSB recipient of the Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship. His work, “Status, Diversification, and Entrepreneurial Risk” examines a stylized life-cycle model of portfolio choice. His main prediction is that the preference for social status leads households to hold undiversified portfolios in equilibrium. This suggests a possible explanation for the apparent lack of a premium for undiversified entrepreneurial risk.

The Kauffman Foundation hopes the awards will “help launch a cohort of world-class scholars into a field that is still relatively young,” said Robert J. Strom, PhD, director of entrepreneurship research and policy at the Foundation. “We hope the findings generated by this effort will be translated into knowledge with immediate application for policy makers, educators, service providers and entrepreneurs.”

The GSB’s representation in the ranks of outstanding new scholars is fitting for the nation’s first doctoral program in business. The school trains PhD’s to become highly skilled and innovative researchers. Most graduates of the GSB program go on to become faculty members at premier academic institutions throughout the world.