Tag Archives: entrepreneurship research

New Entrepreneurship Ranking of Countries | US Not the Most Entrepreneurial

In the past 5 years while working on my PhD part-time at GMU, I have been fortunate to work with some incredible professors from various fields — economics, sociology, political science, history, and higher education. Two of them, Richard Florida and Zoltan Acs, have made incredible contributions in the fields of economic development, entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, and technology policy.

Acs, who is my dissertation adviser, has been working with Laszlo Szerb in developing a new index for understanding entrepreneurship globally: the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index.

The Christian Science Monitor covers the recent release of the US data on the GEDI. Past measures, including new firm formation, self-employment rates, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s (GEM) Total Early-phase Entrepreneurial Activity index, the Index of Economic Freedom, and others have pushed the field forward, but have not always been useful in policy making and/or economic analysis.

The new index attempts to capture the ‘contextual features of entrepreneurship.’  The framework covers a broad range of variables and importantly attempts to include qualitative differences, rather than just the traditional quantitative variables used.  Further, the GEDI includes individual variables, not just institutional variables.

From the CSMonitor: Continue reading

Research Update: Entrepreneurship & American Exceptionalism

I have spent the last month going deeper into the concept of American Exceptionalism and also reading more commentators on Turner. I am just about done with a The End of American Exceptionalism by David Wrobel.

The book looks into the era surrounding Turner’s development of and presentation of his Frontier Thesis. The end of the frontier was the end of a 300 year period of expansion and Turner was not the only person concerned with what it meant. From sociologists and politicians to economists and media outlets, the end of the American frontier received great amounts of investigation.

Beyond the academics and policy makers thinking, speaking, and writing on the ‘end of the frontier’, much of the American public reacted to this fundamental shift in America’s development and also its view of itself and its uniqueness. From calls for expansion abroad to demand for Western novels and art, the ‘frontier anxiety’ was real for decades after Turners presentation at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, Il.

Live at Mason Entrepreneurship Research Conference #2

Just listened to Tim Berry give the keynote address during lunch. Tim was great and it is obvious why Palo Alto Software has been so successful and why his writing is so insightful. His presentation was full of great stories, but more importantly, there were lots of great questions that entrepreneurs, policy makers, and others have to ask. Most importantly, are we measuring our costs properly when we look at our biz and how do we bring the long-term into our decision making — btw, both questions are about sustainability.

Presenting @ Mason Entrepreneurship Research Conference 3/27

This Friday, March 27, 2009, is the Mason Entrepreneurship Research Conference. I presented a few years back on Social Capital and Business Plan Contests and will be presenting this week on The Frontier in US History, The Modern Campus, and Entrepreneurship. Last year I posted from the event a few times. Our friend Tim Berry is the key note speaker.

Here is some background on the conference and its mission. Interestingly, it is a joint venture between the School of Public Policy and the School of Management.

Business Plan Competitions: Policy Tool Du Jour

3 years ago I presented at the Mason Entrepreneurship Research Conference (MERC). My topic was Business Plan Competitions as Social Capital Building Tools. In that paper I made mention that policy and ‘economic development’ oriented business plan competitions were beginning to appear more frequently on the landscape.

Now you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a local ec dev biz plan competition. See OK Governor’s plan, the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s annual competition up in VT, and a big new DC Business Plan Competition with $100,000 in prizes (its official name is the BusinessPremier something or other, I may write more on the competition when I find out more about it).

So if you are an entrepreneur, take a look around your city/county/metro/state to see if there are any competitions to enter. You may meet some interesting people, get some good advice/insights and maybe even find some funding. If the federal largess continues and recession deepens in certain places (namely Michigan and some overbuilt areas), look for more business plan competitions to be offered.

Review of Existing Lit on Graduate Entrepreneurship

An older, but interesting study/lit review called Making the Journey from Student to Entrepreneur from the UK’s National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship via a foreign language blog (from Northern Europe?).

New Study on Education and Entrepreneurship

Thanks to Schumpeters Century for alerting us to a newish paper, Education and Entrepreneurship Selection and Performance: A Review of the Literature. (You need a sub — usually through a university — though if you email the authors they may send it to you?).

The authors, Justin van der Sluis and Mirjaam van Praag, looked at over 100 studies and came to some very interesting conclusions. Here is a snippet from the beginning of the paper;

The first set reflects the combined findings of the studies
in our sample. First, the effect of education on entry is neither positive nor negative.
Second, entrepreneurship performance, regardless of the performance measure used,
is significantly and positively associated with formal schooling. Third, the returns
to education, as measured by means of conditional correlations, are estimated at
6.1%.3 Fourth, a compilation of studies estimating the return to education for both
entrepreneurs and employees in a comparable fashion shows that the entrepreneurs
in the USA have a slightly higher return to their education than employees, whereas
the reverse is true in Europe. Fifth, the returns to schooling in entrepreneurship are
higher in the USA than in Europe. (p.2)

Looks pretty interesting. I am excited to read it.

My Startup and a Typology for Campus Entrepreneurs

I was not able to post anything over the weekend because life got in the way. You see, in addition to blogging as a component of my PhD, I am also a launching a new business and am married with a young child.

My wife works full time as an ER doctor and was working on Sat/Sunday. We are in the process of moving, so I was packing up boxes and moving things around, preparing for the floor repair guys (who arrived this morning at 7 am).

Moreover, the beta site for my startup was given to us on Friday so we were testing it, playing with/learning Joomla and working with the programmers over weekend. While this meant I wasn’t able to post anything or attend the finals of Mid-Atlantic Business Plan Competition, it had me doing a lot of thinking about life as campus entrepreneur.

One of the early comments that Richard Florida made to me when we discussed the idea of campus entrepreneurship was that I needed to start with a basic typology. What he meant was that the experiences of campus entrepreneurs are so varied that I had to begin categorizing them.

For example, the undergrad selling t-shirts to pay tuition is totally different from the PhD candidate (living on their research assistantship salary) patenting compounds and working with (or without) their school’s TTO group in trying to commercial lab work.

There is also the MBA candidate who teams up with the Law School Prof to launch a consulting firm and the undergrad who builds a cool tool that mushrooms into a billion dollar business (Facebook).

My experiences over the weekend (when I was also supposed to be writing my final paper for my advanced methods course) reminded me that my current experience as a campus entrepreneur is so different from my first two experiences (an internet startup as a full-time MBA student and consulting with some Profs as a PhD candidate) and from those campus entrepreneurs I have been interviewing, researching, and covering.

These varied experiences is what makes researching this topic so interesting, but it is the commonalities that I am looking for that will bring insights into entrepreneurship and economic trends, the university’s role in economic development, and the evolution of learning. All of this will hopefully lead to more effective and productive entrepreneurship, universities, and individuals.

I have a basic typology that I am working on — listing entrepreneurs according to basic characteristics: ie their role on campus (undergrad, grad, prof, staff, alumni); the type of business they are involved in (service, technical, retail); whether technical expertise/institutions of the university play a role (ie labs, TTO, research grants, etc.); whether campus entrepreneurship institutions play a role (ie classes, clubs, business plan contests).

I will publish more on this topic as I get a little further and will post it under my research page. If you have any thoughts or guidance please share. I am also looking for opinions.

Mason Entrepreneurship Research Conference


I am attending the 4th Annual Mason Entrepreneurship Research Conference (MERC) tomorrow in Fairfax, VA. The conference gets better each year (I presented year 2 on business plan competitions) and I am excited to hear Sankaran Venkataraman (keynote), Sameeksha Desai & Zoltan Acs (on ‘destructive entrepreneurship’), Scott Jackson (on Mass Healthcare Law on Entre), and Jim Wolfe (on teaching entrepreneurship). Here is the full agenda. If they have wifi there, I will try to blog some of the ‘action.’

Most Downloaded Entrepreneurship Papers of 2007

Cruised by the Kauffman Foundation and noticed their list of most downloaded entrepreneurship papers of 2007. Lots of cool categories and some interesting sounding papers. The Entrepreneurship Research and Policy Network (ERPN) is a growing and valuable resource that shows the breadth of work going on in the entrepreneurship space.

According to their press release, “Since its inception in March 2006 the ERPN has grown significantly, now consisting of more than 4,300 papers with a combined total of more than 521,000 downloads.” Knowledge is flowing — a good thing for the entrepreneurship in general, students, faculty, and the economy.

Here are a few of the most downloaded:

From my friend David Kirsch (at University of Maryland) and some colleagues (yes one of their names is David A. Miller): Was There Too Little Entry During the Dot Com Era?

Betsey Book, an independent researcher/writer, has a paper titled: Virtual World Business Brands: Entrepreneurship and Identity in Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming Environments.

A paper by Vivek Wadhwa, that I have used quite frequently in my work with Richard Florida and the Creative Class Group, was the most downloaded in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Growth section: Intellectual Property, the Immigration Backlog, and a Reverse Brain-Drain: America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Part III.