Looking inside the spiky bits : a critical review and conceptualisation of entrepreneurial ecosystems
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The concept of entrepreneurial ecosystems has quickly established itself as one of the latest ‘fads’ in entrepreneurship research. At face value, this kind of systemic approach to entrepreneurship offers a new and distinctive path for scholars and policy makers to help understand and foster growth-oriented entrepreneurship. However, its lack of specification and conceptual limitations has undoubtedly hindered our understanding of these complex organisms. Indeed, the rapid adoption of the concept has tended to overlook the heterogeneous nature of ecosystems. This paper provides a critical review and conceptualisation of the ecosystems concept: it unpacks the dynamics of the concept; outlines its theoretical limitations; measurement approaches and use in policy-making. It sets out a preliminary taxonomy of different archetypal ecosystems. The paper concludes that entrepreneurial ecosystems are a highly variegated, multi-actor and multi-scalar phenomenon, requiring bespoke policy interventions.
Brown , R C & Mason , C 2017 , ' Looking inside the spiky bits : a critical review and conceptualisation of entrepreneurial ecosystems ' Small Business Economics , vol. 49 , no. 1 , pp. 11-30 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-017-9865-7
Small Business Economics
© The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
DescriptionThe authors wish to thank the Organisational for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for funding their original research on entrepreneurial ecosystems.
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