Phoenix rising: Rebounding to venture again post firm-failure

Amit Rawal*, David Sarpong*, Sanjay Kumar Singh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite extant literature on a failed firm owner's coping, learning, and emotional functioning, very little is known about how once bankrupted B2B entrepreneurs rebound to venture again and develop capabilities like antifragility. Drawing on antifragility as a lens, we explore how UK B2B firm owners bounce back from bankruptcy and external crises to pursue successful ventures. Empirically, we examine the retrospective accounts of 20 formerly bankrupted UK-based entrepreneurs who overcame their adversity to venture again. Our study suggests that emotional and reflective coping strategies are key to developing the business owners' internal attributional style towards their failure, which in turn help them to cultivate what we term antifragility as an ‘entrepreneurial competence’. This capability prompts long-term learning behaviours which generate deep insights into exploring and exploiting opportunities and limits otherwise overlooked by others to restart a new venture. Emphasizing the role of dealing with emotions associated with failure and coping with uncertainties, our study provides nuanced insight into how once bankrupted B2B entrepreneurs overcome a firm demise to rebound to venture again and learn in the long-term. Implications for entrepreneurial re-entry post-failure are explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-84
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue numberJuly 2023
Early online date16 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (


  • antifragility
  • B2B entrepreneurs
  • bankruptcy
  • learning
  • coping
  • strategic foresight


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