The Buzz Before Business: A Design Science Study of a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Gregory O'Shea, Steffen Farny, Henri Hakala

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Abstract

This paper examines how entrepreneurial opportunities co-evolve within a sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem (SEE). Most of the literature on entrepreneurial ecosystems falls short on integrating the entrepreneurial process in empirical research. To analyze data collected from pre-start-up teams within a nascent SEE on high-tech cellulose-based materials over three years, we apply a design-science approach that helps understand actors’ collaborative sense-making in designing and structuring ecosystem features and relationships. Our findings show that the SEE can be seen as a design artifact which evolves by ecosystem actors collectively engaging in new venture ideation and developing opportunity confidence. Furthermore, the paper presents a novel SEE framework, which elaborates on phases and enablers of the opportunity co-evolution process within an emerging ecosystem. We contribute to the literature on sustainable as well as general entrepreneurial ecosystems and offer a new theoretical foundation for a process view on ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1120
JournalSmall Business Economics
Volume56
Issue number3
Early online date11 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Design science study
  • Entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Buzz
  • Opportunity process
  • Sustainable entrepreneurship

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