Entrepreneurial innovation is a complex phenomenon. Experimenting with research designs that could claim some degree of generalizable linking between the individual and external influencing factors is challenging. However, progress even in research niches can contribute to a more structured understanding of the process. This article focuses on the first stages of entrepreneurial innovation, using a novel questionnaire design. Responses were collected from two Hungarian universities (147 and 127 responses, respectively) and analysed using Structural Equation Modelling. The results confirm that entrepreneurial innovation success in the early stage is shaped by macro-level factors, which have an influence on risk perception through locus of control. The paper makes two contributions, demonstrating (1) the possibility of using questionnaire survey for analysing multiple levels if the narrative is under control, and (2) how individual entrepreneurs approach the start of their innovation-based business, upon which personality and environmental factors both have significant impact.