During the 1980s, the US economy began a transition from being industrial/manufacturing based to an entrepreneurial/innovation-driven economy. Currently entrepreneurial firms comprise more than 95% of all firms in the US and over 1 million new small firms are being created each year. They are generating over 85% of new jobs and are responsible for more than one-half of all innovations in the market. This impressive contribution to the US economy is not uniformly spread among the small business sector, but limited primarily to the most rapidly growing entrepreneurial firms -- often referred to as gazelles. The gazelles' appetite for resources, especially financial resources, is enormous (Timmons, 1999). Equity capital for these rapidly growing firms primarily comes from three complementary sources, directly related to the developmental stage of the firm: angel capital, venture capital, and initial public offerings (IPOs).
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