Research

Entrepreneurship is a highly fragmented field of research.

It is dealing with diverse aspects such as creativity, cognitive psychology, networks, risks and uncertainty, finance, marketing, business planning, corporate entrepreneurship, venture capital, etc.  

A common perspective in entrepreneurship that has emerged over the last couple of years is dynamic and process oriented. It focuses on two main aspects along the development of new ventures: the presence of entrepreneurial opportunities and of entrepreneurial individuals.

The process perspective further partitions that development process in three main phases: the identification, development and commercialization of novel business opportunities. In our research we analyze and try to better understand how such entrepreneurial processes function in different settings.

Another important and recent trend in entrepreneurship research is dealing with entrepreneurial business models and business ecosystems.

 

While we are interested and engaged in various aspects of entrepreneurship, we specifically focus on these topics:

 

Entrepreneurial Business Models

Over the last years we have witnessed an incredible number of different new business models. We know only little how the design of the business model influences the further development of the startup and also the design of the organization. We also know little about how such business models can be evaluated at different stages of development and how such evaluation can anticipate future development such as success, scaling, failure of the startup.

 

(Equity based) Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has become an alternative source of finance for startups. While many different crowdfunding platforms have started and startups have collected large funding amounts via such platforms, we know only little about the detailed processes of funding, the choice of business idea to be funded, the social structure and interaction of platform members and also the characteristics of various groups of private investors.

 

Entrepreneurship and business ecosystems

In business ecosystems, established firms, (online) communities and individuals jointly develop novel business opportunities. Thus, many of the traditional roles of the manufacturer, the consumer and the entrepreneur are changing, due to joint activities, obligations and investments. Well known companies such as Apple, IBM or LEGO have developed platforms on which different participating actors can contribute to commercializing business opportunities. However, so far little is known about entrepreneurial processes in such settings. Entrepreneurship might happen outside of the boundaries of the hosting firms, when external individuals identify and develop novel opportunities. Entrepreneurship might also happen inside of the hosting firms, when novel projects are proactively started and developed. We analyze the role and effect of entrepreneurial activities within such business ecosystems.

 

Social entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurial opportunities are not always only driven by profit. Social entrepreneurs engage in activities that solve social and environmental problems and thus contribute to the development of opportunities that benefit a variety of stakeholders. Social entrepreneurs have developed completely novel business models in order to cope with limiting or extreme conditions that would probably not allow traditional start up activities. For instance, novel ways of financing entrepreneurial activities like microfinance or crowd funding enable entrepreneurship in often hostile or limiting settings. They also enable the start up of really creative or radical business ideas. We analyze entrepreneurial processes and business models within such settings.

 

Entrepreneurship in open and user innovation settings

Empirical studies show that individual users often have preferences or needs that cannot be satisfied by existing products or services. Established manufacturing firms might not be willing to invest in novel development or simply cannot supply the specific characteristics of solutions needed. They might also not be able to anticipate the market potential or risks involved in such development. Therefore, individual entrepreneurs are often the first to develop radical novel business opportunities. They can be the starting point for the emergence of novel industries. We investigate and analyze how such entrepreneurs identify novel opportunities and how they overcome risks and barriers not taken by established firms.