This paper examines antecedents of high-quality entrepreneurship in European countries before and after the financial crisis that burst in 2008. In a context of ambitious entrepreneurship, we consider three quality aspects of early-stage entrepreneurship referring to innovativeness, export orientation, and high-growth intentions of entrepreneurs. Using microlevel data retrieved from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) annual surveys, we investigate whether the role of gender, education, opportunity perception, and motives of early-stage entrepreneurs changes between crisis and noncrisis periods. Our results show that the perception of business opportunities has a particularly pronounced effect on high-quality entrepreneurship in adverse economic conditions. We also find that the beneficial effects of educational attainment on growth intentions strengthen in times of crisis. Finally, the gender effect on entrepreneurs’ high-growth intentions and export orientation appears to be stronger in the crisis period, implying that ambitious female entrepreneurship suffers more in the midst of crisis.