Renaissance Entrepreneurship: A Grounded Theory of Entrepreneurial Recycling

Markko Hämäläinen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


Entrepreneurship is a phenomenon that has a significant effect on its practitioners and the societies in which they live. Despite the large amount of entrepreneurship throughout the world, a significant part of new ventures fail. This has a considerable social impact, because these failures often cause the entrepreneurs to lose their entrepreneurial intentions. In contrast, many other entrepreneurs, regardless of the degree of success of their initial attempts, are able to adopt entrepreneuring as a general approach to many areas of their lives. The objective of this dissertation study was to better understand how such "renaissance" entrepreneurs, who have multiple passions in various domains of life, proceed in their careers. To achieve this goal, the study selected an inverted approach that started with the data and created a new, emergent theory. The study started with the following generic research question: "How do entrepreneurs with multiple passions proceed in their careers, and what drives them?" The theory creation process was based on extensive field observations and interviews with entrepreneurs in several countries. By using the constant comparative method of the grounded theory approach, the observed regularities in entrepreneurial behavior were conceptualized and related to one another. For theoretical parsimony, the construction of the theory was limited to one main concern of the entrepreneurs and to the process that they used to resolve the concern. The concern that emerged as the central point of the new theory was termed need of fit; this concern is introduced here as an important new concept for entrepreneurship research. Need of fit means that entrepreneurs want to engage in activities that suit them and partially define who they are. The entrepreneurs with multiple passions – renaissance entrepreneurs – start to resolve their need of fit through the process of entrepreneurial recycling – another novel entrepreneurial concept presented in this dissertation. Within the process of entrepreneurial recycling, renaissance entrepreneurs sequentially start projects using old projects and their accumulated resources as a springboard. This recycling provides leverage for new projects and creates a sense of purpose by giving new meanings to slack resources. At the same time, entrepreneurial recycling progressively accumulates an entrepreneur's resource base and shows how their past business endeavors, regardless of their level of success, promote learning and contribute to future endeavors. Project recycling transcends and combines distinctive domains such as businesses, hobbies, and personal lives.
Translated title of the contributionRenessanssi-yrittäjyys: uusi teoria yritteliäästä kierrättämisestä
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Kauranen, Ilkka, Supervising Professor
  • Thulesius, Hans, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5786-6
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5787-3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • entrepreneurship
  • career
  • entrepreneurial career
  • resources
  • recycling
  • life cycle
  • grounded theory


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