This paper explores how a future–as something that can only be imagined but can inspire entrepreneurial action–can attract economic capital. We integrate Dor’s (2015) model of language as a communication technology for the instruction of imagination with Bourdieu’s theory of practice to account for how an entrepreneur’s words can hold sway over an investor by virtue of meaning something significant. We introduce opportunity capital as the symbolic significance of the entrepreneur’s future-venture story and the exchange counterparty to the investor’s economic capital. Our portrayal of the future as a symbolic phenomenon inducing action by others offers foundational insights to research on the early stages of venturing and the acquisition of resources by entrepreneurs.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalEntrepreneurship and Regional Development
Early online date9 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Apr 2024


The authors thank the editor, two anonymous reviewers, and seminar participants at Southampton Business School, Liverpool University Management School, and Audencia Business School for their constructive comments in the development of the paper.


  • Language
  • entrepreneur
  • future
  • instructive communication
  • legitimacy
  • opportunity
  • resource acquisition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Business and International Management


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