The key role of the individual in the venture start-up process is unquestioned. Yet, attempts to use individual-level variables to predict who will start a business have had limited success. The cognitive literature shows promise in this regard. However, most research strategies emerging from it rely on retrospective accounts from successful founders. This paper uses data from a national study of nascent entrepreneurs (people in the process of starting an independent business) and a comparison group to investigate some cognitive aspects of new venture creation. The findings indicate that entrepreneurial attitudes precede venture formation and may be useful in predicting whether intentions will lead to action.