Author ORCID Identifier


Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Walsh, L. and Martin, B. (2021)The Value of Leadership Practices when there is no one to lead: A nascent entrepreneurship context. Journal of Small Business Management


Although a considerable amount of literature shows how entrepreneurs develop and utilize social capital to create and grow their ventures, there is scant learning on how nascent entrepreneurs with few ties actually create and utilize social capital to help turn their early ideas into ventures. This paper reveals the role of relational leadership in social capital development and shows how it enhances persistence among very early-stage nascent entrepreneurs, even when they have no employees or partners to lead. Learning from our 18-month in-depth case studies of early-stage nascent entrepreneurs in one European country is used to propose a theory of social capital development in nascent entrepreneurship. Implications for future research and for nascent entrepreneurial practice are discussed.