The concept and desiderata of an evidence-based entrepreneurship (EBE) is discussed as a strategy to overcome the gap between knowledge developed in the field of entrepreneurship and its use in practice. Evidence constitutes the best summary of knowledge based on several sources of information (several studies, several different research groups, several different methodological approaches, among them the best methods available) which clearly goes beyond individual experience and a few isolated studies. We argue that meta-analyses can and should be used in entrepreneurship research (and that they should also be used to review qualitative studies). Meta-analyses establish certain relationships; these should then be summarized in well-founded models and theories that can be translated into action principles. These action principles can then be used by various users of EBE. Users of EBE can be scientists, professionals who regularly deal with entrepreneurs (bankers, consultants, venture capital providers), policy makers (e.g., government), students of entrepreneurship, and last but not least the entrepreneurs themselves. Once a set of action principles has been developed from science, their application can be tested with the help of further evidence on the efficacy of interventions (including meta-analyses on the interventions). Evidence-based entrepreneurship (EBE) has the potential to change research, teaching, and practice.
"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood… Indeed the world is run by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences are usually the slaves of some defunct economist…. It is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil."
Evidence-Based Entrepreneurship introduces the concept of evidence-based entrepreneurship (EBE), discuss the implications of EBE, and sketch out its opportunities and limitations. The users of EBE can be the scientists themselves, professionals who deal with entrepreneurs, policy makers whose policies affect entrepreneurs, students of entrepreneurship, and last but not least the entrepreneurs themselves. Much of the review is related to the idea of meta-analysis – a quantitative review of the scientific literature – to help determine how strong certain relationships are, how often a relationship consistently appears across studies, and how much we can trust the methodological rigor of the research. A meta-analysis provides the best available type of evidence because it goes beyond one methodology, one study, and one researcher. Evidence-Based Entrepreneurship provides a great opportunity that is relevant for practice and policy while strengthening the empirical and theoretical bases of entrepreneurship research. Practice can never be fully based on evidence; therefore, we talk about evidence-informed practice and evidence-based research suggestions. Both management and entrepreneurship show a gap between knowledge and practice - the knowledge-doing gap. Managers as well as entrepreneurs or professionals who deal with entrepreneurs often fail to take note of scientific evidence when making decisions and empirical research has shown that managers often take actions that are uninformed and sometimes even diametrically opposed to empirical evidence. In the area of entrepreneurship, one can often hear open disdain for scholarly work because professors have not yet "made their first million" - the foremost argument seems to be that only experience counts. We suggest that professionals who deal with entrepreneurs can profit from evidence-informed practice.