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About this book

This book features latest research insights into the study of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The focus is on understanding its influence on the development of socially and physically defined ‘places’, and how these factors are related with each other. The book argues that regardless of how the concept of a ‘place’ is defined, be it cities, regions, nations or otherwise, the impact of new technologies will influence much of our business, social, and economic landscapes. Evidently, there is an increasing pressure on ‘places’ to embrace new opportunities for strategic development and confront complacency. The solution may very well be in creating and sustaining entrepreneurial ecosystems where entrepreneurial action thrives and innovation drives the new economy.

Table of Contents


Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: The Foundations of Place-based Renewal

Regardless of how the concept of a ‘place’ is geographically defined, be it cities, regions, nations or otherwise, the impact of new technologies will influence much of our business, social, and economic landscapes. Evidently, there is an increasing pressure on ‘places’ to embrace new opportunities for strategic development and confront complacency that retards change. The solution may very well be in creating and sustaining entrepreneurial ecosystems where entrepreneurial action thrives and innovation drives the new economy. However, defining the entrepreneurial ecosystem remains difficult and the methods used to analyse them are inconsistent. This chapter deals with the theoretical foundations of an entrepreneurial ecosystem when it is specifically considered as a place-based change management instrument. As we introduce the variety of submitted works to this volume it becomes apparent that while capital, labour, resources and infrastructure are all important, equally, how these elements are mobilized through leadership, governance, and institutions are at least but perhaps even more important. While technology figures heavily, it is overshadowed to some extent by an emphasis on individual action and agency. Defining place-based transitions and transformations is dependent upon anchoring the point of departure. Entrepreneurship therefore has a key role to play in innovating the renewal of place and the value creation of entrepreneurs takes precedence. Technological advances offer great value creating opportunities in some places but in all, the value lies in the socioeconomic stimulus that entrepreneurs create through new opportunities for developing cohesive communities.
Allan O’Connor, Erik Stam, Fiona Sussan, David B. Audretsch

Deconstructing the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Concept

With innovation and entrepreneurship lauded as important contributors to economic futures, there is a pressing need to unravel the complexities of entrepreneurial ecosystems as a context for cultivating new businesses initiatives. This chapter reports on the deconstruction and analysis of the entrepreneurial ecosystem concept, through a hermeneutic reflection catalysed by a symposium of international scholars. We apply the theoretical fields of business networks and systems theory within our reflective method. This reflective comparison reveals parallels and divergences as well as consistencies and contrasts between these two fields and the concept of entrepreneurial ecosystems. The analysis revealed that the concepts of place and dynamics are specific to entrepreneurial ecosystems and so provide a path for guiding research and policy investigations.
Lisa Daniel, Christopher J. Medlin, Allan O’Connor, Larissa Statsenko, Rowena Vnuk, Gary Hancock

Institutional Dynamism in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Entrepreneurs are involved in entrepreneurial ecosystems. These ecosystems incorporate institutions that interact with entrepreneurs in different ways depending on the stage of the business life cycle the entrepreneur is in. By incorporating institutional theory and business life cycle theory to the analysis of ecosystems, we propose which kind of institution will answer the entrepreneurial question addressing who is there to help their venture depending on the stage of the life cycle it is in. This paper seeks to provide guidance on the institutional support available to increase a venture’s chance of success and improve the efficiency of the resource base of ecosystems.
Lucio Fuentelsaz, Juan P. Maícas, Pedro Mata

A Triple-Helix Ecosystem for Entrepreneurship: A Case Review

The collaborations among universities, businesses, and governments leading to entrepreneurial activities have received a lot of attention. Successful examples of such endeavours are plenty. However, how this triple-helix ecosystem may have changed in the digital economy remains unexplored. Specifically, there is a lack of research that addresses the changing roles of universities from acting as places for conducting R&D to become marketplaces for customers. The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the triple helix ecosystem of entrepreneurship in the digital economy. First, we use a historical lens to uncover the antecedents and drivers of university-business research collaborations with support from governments, and offer a few historical examples. Second, we highlight some recent digital businesses from the perspective of triple helix ecosystem of entrepreneurship. Third, we offer a new conceptual framework depicting the new roles of the three triadic players that have expanded from the supply side (i.e., R&D, funding) to the demand side (i.e., customer base) in enabling entrepreneurial activities.
Ravi Chinta, Fiona Sussan

Theorizing the University Governance Role in an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

This chapter examines the role of higher education institutions among the various programmes, community and private sector initiatives within a regional milieu and specifically an entrepreneurial ecosystem. We use data collected from a set of sixteen interviews with service providers to the entrepreneurship community in Adelaide, Australia, to construct a framework of the perceived roles and contributions of the university sector to an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The contribution of this chapter relates to its focus on what universities are expected to contribute within a regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. The findings suggest five specific roles for universities which opens a discussion around the strategic choices for university executive management in approaching regional engagement in economic development issues through contributions to entrepreneurship. We also discuss the issue of governance that arises through our analysis and the implications for place-based and regional entrepreneurial ecosystem development.
Allan O’Connor, Gerard Reed

Regional Entrepreneurship Ecosystems Support: South East Queensland as Case Study

The literature on support within entrepreneurship ecosystems is in emergence, characterized by multiple levels of analysis, different stages of development, and different conceptualizations of regionality, without the ability to extend a successful model from one region to another. Given the emergent stage of development and the need regions have to locally develop their own ecosystems, this chapter provides a framework to study the support provided by different role players within the system and proposes dimensions to study the interdependencies in providing support. The proposed framework was illustrated and revised using a case study from South East Queensland, Australia, drawing on documents, interviews and observations. This paper contributes to the literature by providing a framework, with associated dimensions of support for entrepreneurs that is useful to understand the contributions of various players to identify support gaps and develop interventions to meet the development goals of regions of varying densities.
M. J. de Villiers Scheepers, E. Mealy, M. Clements, Anne Lawrence

Where Are the Spiders? Proximities and Access to the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: The Case of Polish Migrant Entrepreneurs in Glasgow

Entrepreneurship research is increasingly taking into account external factors in order to provide context for the conditions under which new firms are created. Thus, the entrepreneur is increasingly recognized as a constituent part of the ecosystems in which they operate. In addition, a strong and vibrant ecosystem should be host to diversity—the presence of migrant entrepreneurs is a sign of this diversity, contributing to the ecosystem at the city level. This chapter focusses on a particular group of entrepreneurs, Polish migrant entrepreneurs based in the city of Glasgow, UK, and provides details of exploratory research that examines the influence of the entrepreneurial ecosystem on their new venture creation process. In order to examine which external factors are of importance developing vibrant ecosystems, and to draw attention to the role of proximities in facilitating their use by Polish migrant entrepreneurs, this chapter synthesizes the current entrepreneurial ecosystem literature with that discussing opportunity structure and proximity. The results suggest that both geographic and cultural proximity are important factors in accessing market and resources within the local migrant community. However, it also appears that despite positive effects in the start-up phase, the high level of proximity displayed between entrepreneurs and their market base can constrain future business growth potential—leading to a lack of diversity and suggesting a lack of local diversity within the community based sub-ecosystem.
Paul Lassalle, Andrew Johnston

Is There a Path from Sin City to Tech City? The Case for Las Vegas

Many cities aspire to have vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems that are relevant to the digital economy—can they? To answer the question, we examine the economic history of Las Vegas, a land of gambling and entertainment, and report the recent entrepreneurial activities in the city along with the data that measures the vibrancy of the ecosystem and growth of the place. While there is no indication that the various data points converge, our analysis leads us to three insights. One, legacy industry is disconnected from the new tech hub in an entrepreneurship ecosystem when the economy has shifted from the ‘Main street’ mode to the ‘digital’ mode. Two, while there are two recent success stories of Zappos and Switch SUPERNAP in Las Vegas, entrepreneurship activities remain moderate in spite of a bottom-up effort to build Downtown as a tech hub. Three, cluster advantages and positive network externalities do not seem to happen in unrelated industry in Las Vegas.
Fiona Sussan, Brian Sloboda, Richard Hall

Measuring Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

How can entrepreneurial ecosystems and productive entrepreneurship be traced empirically and how is entrepreneurship related to entrepreneurial ecosystems? The analyses in this chapter show the value of taking a systems view on the context of entrepreneurship. We measure entrepreneurial ecosystem elements and use these to compose an entrepreneurial ecosystem index. Next, we measure the output of entrepreneurial ecosystems with different indicators of high-growth firms. We use the 12 provinces of the Netherlands as a test case for measuring the entrepreneurial ecosystem elements, composing an entrepreneurial ecosystem index and relate this to entrepreneurial outputs. The prevalence of high-growth firms relates to the overall value of the entrepreneurial ecosystem index, but not to individual elements of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The model fit increases once we introduce a multiplicative index and a non-linear model. By measuring entrepreneurial ecosystems and their outputs in this way we move from the ecosystem metaphor to a complex system model of the entrepreneurial economy.
Erik Stam
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