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Access to Information

Some people have better access than others to information about the changes that open up entrepreneurial opportunities. Several factors appear to be very important, and successful entrepreneurs make use of these factors to identify valuable opportunities. Some people have better positions in social networks. Being positioned well in a social network allows a person to gain access to information that others cannot access because information is often transmitted through people’s social ties. Friends and acquaintances often tell you things that you cannot learn in other ways, like the fact that a storefront is going to become vacant in a few months or that a new technology was invented. If you have the right ties and others do not, you can gain access to information that other people cannot tap. Moreover, strong social ties enhance the transfer of information from one person to another by making people more willing to believe information transferred under conditions of uncertainty. People find it difficult to know whether the information that they hear is accurate. For instance, is a new technological discovery—say cold fusion—real or a hoax? To figure out if information is accurate, most people rely on their friends and trusted others to figure out what information to believe. Therefore, people with strong social ties to the sources of information about key changes that serve as sources of opportunities can often get access to that information while other people cannot.

Some people have jobs or life activities that put them closer than others to the source of information about the changes that open up opportunities.[12] For the creation of high-technology businesses, jobs in research and development and marketing appear to be particularly useful in providing access to information about the changes that open up opportunities.[13] Research and development jobs provide information about newly developed technologies that create the opportunity for new businesses. Marketing jobs provide information about customer preferences or unmet customer needs. As a result, these jobs are very helpful in putting people in the flow of information that helps to learn about opportunities to found new firms.


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