This paper estimates the effect of education on the success of entrepreneurial activity, using survey data from Malawi. An instrument variable approach is used to address the endogeneity of education. We find a significant and substantial effect of an added year of primary education on entrepreneurial profitability. This is consistent with theoretical arguments that primary schooling provides a generalized form of competence that underpins the variety of skills an entrepreneur needs to succeed in business. Results are robust to non-random selection into entrepreneurship.