Nascent entrepreneurs’ gestation activities are crucial for firm emergence. Compelled by a partial understanding of these activities as sufficient conditions, however, scholars drifted into a wild-goose chase to track down increasingly complex activity configurations. No study has ever examined gestation activities as necessary conditions for firm emergence – i.e., whether the absence of any particular gestation activity precludes firm emergence? We use the harmonized PSED dataset across four countries (N = 3537) to present a Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA) of gestation activities. Challenging deep-rooted assumptions on the role of entrepreneurial action, our findings extend the literature on the emergence of new firms.