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Entrepreneurial ecosystems & business model innovation

About This PhD Project

Project Description

This scholarship provides an opportunity to explore entrepreneurial ecosystems by understanding how knowledge is created, shared and used to inform business model innovation.

Number of Places:
One funded place

Opening Date:
As soon as possible

30th April 2020

36 months from October 2020

Project Details

Entrepreneurial ecosystems have become a prominent concept for researchers and policy-makers for regional economic development. There is a widely held belief in practice and policy discourse – and an assumption in most research writings – that vibrant EEs are the ‘secret sauce’ to fostering entrepreneurship, and, in particular, high-growth companies (scale-ups). The success of vibrant ecosystems such as Silicon Valley is often attributed to the fact that ‘there is something in the air’ that leads to innovation, despite recent evidence pointing towards strategic search processes as opposed to as serendipity and random encounters (Fitjar & Rodríguez-Pose, 2017).

At the individual/firm-level, these search processes and experimentations are key entrepreneurial activities. Established practical blueprints that advocate learning through minimum viable products and other feedback-based mechanisms, include the entrepreneurship heuristic (Ries, 2011) and ‘disciplined entrepreneurship’ (Aulet, 2013). These approaches have become mainstream in the pursuit of building start-ups and scale-ups, but this ‘important empirical reality’ has been largely decoupled from academic discourse. Experimenting manifests itself in two related, yet distinct ways: business model innovation and modularity.

Through experimentation, entrepreneurs and firms create an emergent stock of ‘ecosystem knowledge’. However, the impact of EEs on supporting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ventures through providing access to this knowledge is under-researched and under-theorised. What kind of knowledge emerges at the ecosystem level and how this is, in turn, transformed into firm-level competitive advantage (Tallman et al., 2004) is not well understood. Drawing on entrepreneurial capital and social network theory, this study aims to devise a new methodological approach for empirical research, allowing for a unique way of measuring the influence and effectiveness of ecosystems through business model innovation and modularity of the constituent firms.

This will be realised using an innovative research approach through the Ethno-Visio Insight (EVI) app. The app is based on ecological momentary assessment, which enables collecting a rich dataset at the individual level in real time, possibly including geographical movements, participants' networking behaviours, their work agendas, and their assessment of their actions and interactions.

Set within this context, we invite applicants to submit a research proposal of up to 1,000 words, describing the proposed focus of their work including a background and potential contributions.

You will be registered to the PhD in Entrepreneurship programme based at Strathclyde Business School, under the supervision of Prof Eleanor Shaw and Bernd Wurth.

Contact Us:
For any questions or informal enquiries, please contact Bernd Wurth or Stephanie Cassidy.

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