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Second Chance Project to be discussed at Brisbane Conference

The TRI Leiden Second Chance Project aims to promote recovery and re-integration of entrepreneurs who have recently undergone bankruptcy. The Project Team, Jan Adriaanse, Mark Dechesne and Jennifer van Kesteren, have been accepted to speak at the Personal Insolvency Conference themed ‘A Fresh Look at Fresh Start: the Human Dimension to Bankruptcy’.

Here we can provide you with the conference abstract:

Bankrupts in their own words: the bankruptcy experience through extensive semi-structured interviews

Jennifer van Kesteren BSc, dr. Mark Dechesne, Prof. Jan Adriaans

The number of bankruptcies dramatically increased since the economic crisis in 2008. Little is known about the personal experiences of entrepreneurs who went bankrupt within this timeframe. The present study interviewed ten Dutch SME-entrepreneurs who saw their business go bankrupt in order to better understand the personal, social, legal and financial implications of bankruptcy. Researchers have made a start in systematically investigating these issues. However these efforts have not yet taken into account the phenomenological experience of the bankrupt entrepreneur. Insight in these experiences is of critical importance for obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the impact of bankruptcy and how to best cope with it. 

Entrepreneurs who recently experienced bankruptcy were invited to share their visions during a two hour semi-structured interview. The entrepreneurs reflected on the early days of their business venture, the moment of the first detection of the prospect of business failure, the personal experiences during business failure and the aftermath of bankruptcy. For many, the bankruptcy experience can be compared to losing a loved one, a process similar to mourning. Through this process the interviewees indicated that lack of empathy, respect and transparency by formal institutional representatives (e.g. bankruptcy trustees, judges, bankers) dealing with bankruptcy is considered by most a major source of grief. Many interviewees described the experience as extremely stressful causing severe psychological and physical distress. On the positive side most interviewees indicated that they have learned from the bankruptcy experience and attained a more profound sense of business and of life in general.

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