BACKGROUND: Although many scholars focus their research efforts on predicting entrepreneurial
intention, these scholars have not determined the bidirectional relationship between
entrepreneurial intention and competencies.
AIM: This article investigates whether entrepreneurial intention and various individual
entrepreneurial competencies influence each other. The human agency and social cognitive
theories suggest that these constructs have bidirectional relationships. Furthermore, the
direction and strength of these relationships are established.
SETTING: Results from a sample of 342 nascent and existing entrepreneurs from South Africa are
METHOD: A quantitative research study is undertaken and structural equation modelling
conducted. As far as could be determined, this study is the first to test the model fit between
entrepreneurial intention and the individual entrepreneurial competencies in one model.
RESULTS: The findings provide evidence of a bidirectional relationship between entrepreneurial
intention and various entrepreneurial competencies, and the outcome thereof might lead to
an increased business start-up. The strongest positive relationships were observed between
entrepreneurial intention and self-efficacy, opportunity recognition, conveying a compelling
vision, value creation through innovation (observing customer usage) and perseverance.
Previous scholars confirmed that self-efficacy is a strong predictor of entrepreneurial intention.
The article found a moderate positive significant bidirectional relationship between
entrepreneurial intention and self-efficacy.
CONCLUSION: The findings could assist policy-makers, educators, as well as potential, nascent
and start-up entrepreneurs with the understanding that these specific entrepreneurial
competencies are necessary for a successful business venture or for moving to the next stage of
the venture life cycle. In addition to the previously mentioned practical implications, this
study also shows educators, policy-makers and academics that they need to adapt their
entrepreneurial training programmes to ensure that self-efficacy and entrepreneurial intention
are taught simultaneously as these constructs influence each other.