Recognizing that detailed work on social competence in the context of early entrepreneurial processes is still scarce and, at the same time, building further on existing work, we investigated how and to what extent social competence influences social capital among students with latent entrepreneurial ambitions. For this purpose, an empirical study was carried out among 131 Masters students following a university entrepreneurship education programme. Hierarchal regression analysis showed that social competence, as a composite variable, had a significant effect on the social capital of early-stage entrepreneurs. In particular, social competence directly influenced (structural) aspects of social capital, namely the number of people the early-stage entrepreneur had access to via strong and weak links, as well as the range of occupations these people represented. Thus, social competence increased not only the number of ties (either strong or weak), but also the range of occupations the entrepreneur had access to. Additional analyses – adding social competence as five separate underlying social skills – showed a more differentiated picture, suggesting that the whole (e.g. social competence) is more than the sum of its parts (e.g. the individual skills). The outcomes of this research contribute to the scientific literature concerning the role and impact of social competence on social capital in general, and entrepreneurial networking in particular. Furthermore, it provides the first stepping-stones for social competence development in entrepreneurship education programmes.