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Despite the critical role of the pre-commercialization phase, little is known about industry-level dynamics where focal areas nurture user entrepreneurship and ultimately industry inception. By conducting an historical case study on the emergence of the global sport climbing industry through the RockMaster event in Arco (Italy), this study examines an under-theorized type of phenomenon, the “catalyzing places”—iconic venues which trigger and sustain processes for industry inception and emergence. We show how these places can potentially exert, over communities of practice on a global scale, three distinctive types of forces—centripetal, catalyzing, and centrifugal—and originate cyclical processes which foster industries through the establishment of new entrepreneurial ventures, products, technologies, and practices. We discuss the implications for theory and practice on industry inception, spaces, and user entrepreneurship.
Microfoundations of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: The Case of the Helsinki Region
University of Warwick Elisa Operti,
ESSEC Business School Juha Uotila,
University of Warwick
By combining a microfoundations approach with an open-systems complexity perspective, we investigate how top-down and bottom-up processes coalesced to effect the economic transformation of the Helsinki region from one dominated by large corporations to one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems in Europe. We identify the distinct role of individual micro-level agency operating beyond the macro-level constraints of the nascent ecosystem as a vital trigger in such transformation. We also identify how both micro- and macro-level complementary conditions and actions can either amplify or attenuate the impact of such triggers, facilitating or inhibiting the emergence of systemic changes. Our findings contribute to our understanding of the microfoundations of entrepreneurial and organizational action in general, and of entrepreneurial ecosystems more specifically.
Impact Investing and the Fostering of Entrepreneurship in Disadvantaged Urban Areas: Evidence from France
IESE Business School Caroline Flammer,
This paper investigates how access to finance impacts the socio-economic developments of firms located in urban disadvantaged areas. While studying how to foster entrepreneurship through access to finance matters for entrepreneurship in general, such access is even more critical for firms located in urban disadvantaged areas, for example the inner cities in the US or the “Banlieues” in France. Using the case of the French Banlieues, we construct a unique matched dataset of firms located in these areas. We find that access to finance for banlieues-based firms positively impacts firm performance, increases job creation as well as wealth creation. This work has many implications for the literature on entrepreneurship and opens new avenues of research on impact investing and sustainable cities.
Uncovering the Impact of Venture Capital Firms on Startup Innovation
University of South Carolina
I seek to uncover the effect of venture capital (VC) on innovation by studying which VC firms foster the startup innovative process, and in what context. I argue that specialist VC firms have the knowledge to help the startup innovate faster, but that this effect is moderated by context: the research environment of the country where the startup innovates both complements and substitutes for the main effect. I find empirical support from a sample of 923 VC-backed biotech startups from 26 countries during a period of high growth of the biotech industry (1996–2006). The results suggest that selection is not the main driver. Qualitative insights from interviews with 18 VC partners shed further light on the mechanisms underlying the effect of VC on innovation.