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Research project

Second Chance Project

The Second Chance project aims to promote recovery and re-integration of entrepreneurs who have recently undergone bankruptcy.

Second Chance Project

'If the costs of failure are too high compared to the benefits of learning from failure, entrepreneurs may choose to exit their entrepreneurial careers. In such a situation, both the entrepreneur and society may lose out.'
                                        Ucbasaran, Shepherd, Lockett, & Lyon (2013, p.164)


The Second Chance project aims to promote recovery and re-integration of entrepreneurs who have recently undergone bankruptcy.

The project

The project involves an interdisciplinary study about second chance entrepreneurship. We aim for a best-practice model based on the most recent academic insights and experiences from entrepreneurs. The program aims to provide a knowledge base to be used by entrepreneurs undergoing bankruptcy, and comes with a training program to promote optimal resiliency in the face of bankruptcy.   


It takes courage and vulnerability to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs invest all they have, both in terms of financial and human capital. The economy depends on an entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurs provide jobs, economic growth, and innovation. But with entrepreneurship comes the risk of business failure. The objective of this study is first to empirically describe the mental and social processes following business failure. Through a comprehensive review of the literature, in-depth interviews, and surveys, we will focus on the effects of business failure on professional, financial, social, psychological and spiritual levels, and seek ways for entrepreneurs to recover from the losses suffered and to be successful in a second round.  

Why? There exists a 'blame and shame' culture when it comes to business failure and bankruptcy. But as an old saying wants us to have it: 'a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor'; one learns from these experiences. Indeed, research suggest that under the right conditions, entrepreneurs who have undergone turbulence in business are better able to cope with subsequent challenges. The stigma surrounding business failure oftentimes impedes these circumstances, potentially leading to intensively negative experiences, including depression, social isolation, domestic turmoil, or the loss of reputation. The project aims to create the conditions under which learning experiences are optimally used and the negative consequences of business failure are optimally managed, as to ensure a successful path moving forward.

Getting involved?

If you are an entrepreneur who experienced business failure and you would like to share your experiences, please contact us for more information: j.van.kesteren@law.leidenuniv.nl

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