Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurial Passion: Sources and Sustenance

Melissa S. Cardon PhD
Michael Glauser


Entrepreneurial passion helps coordinate cognition and behavior of entrepreneurs, providing the fire that fuels innovation, persistence, and ultimate success. But where does entrepreneurial passion come from? Using a phenomenological approach, we conduct a qualitative study of 80 entrepreneurs and analyze their oral histories to explore the sources of entrepreneurial passion, as experienced by entrepreneurs. Our discovery process in the interviews suggests six major sources of entrepreneurial passion: passion for building/developing the venture, passion for people, passion for the product or service, passion for inventing, passion for competition, and passion for a social cause.