Startup Competitions and their Role in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: A Conceptual Attempt

Lennard Stolz 1
  • 1 Leibniz University Hannover, Institute of Economic and Cultural Geography, Schneiderberg 50, Hannover, Germany
Lennard Stolz
  • Corresponding author
  • Leibniz University Hannover, Institute of Economic and Cultural Geography, Schneiderberg 50, 30167 Hannover, Hannover, Germany
  • Email
  • Search for other articles:
  • degruyter.comGoogle Scholar

Abstract

Research on entrepreneurial ecosystems (EEs) is still advancing as a concept that both practitioners and scholars claim has advanced beyond other approaches to fostering or explaining regional entrepreneurship. However, criticism of the concept centers on a lack of understanding of causes and effects and the importance of single instruments for its functionality. While practitioners and policy makers are jumping on the bandwagon and trying to aim policies directly at entrepreneurial ecosystems, investigation of the role of single instruments and their impact on entrepreneurial ecosystems remains insufficient. Fostering entrepreneurship through startup competitions (SUCs) is a decades-old policy instrument. Today, both scholars and practitioners mention SUCs as an element of entrepreneurial ecosystems, but analyzing them from that perspective remains undone. Building on a regional understanding of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems, this paper provides a novel framework for the role of startup competitions in entrepreneurial ecosystems. Following on previous studies of SUCs, this study identifies core mechanisms and benefits of the competitions and presents a general framework for SUCs. Then, the study results are synthesized with mechanisms central to entrepreneurial ecosystems, e.g., entrepreneurial learning, networks of entrepreneurial-related actors in the region, and financing entrepreneurship. It is argued that startup competitions work as network hubs in entrepreneurial ecosystems because they connect: a) entrepreneurs with each other, b) entrepreneurs with relevant actors (e.g., financiers, experts, entrepreneurship support organizations), c) those actors among themselves. Therefore, the competitions are “anchor events” and strengthen the overall quality of the EE in which they occur. The study also argues that SUCs benefit from a functioning EE’s positive climate for entrepreneurship and the availability of resources. The study is theoretical, and its findings lead to an agenda for further research.

  • Ács, Z. J./Autio, E./Szerb, L. (2014): National Systems of Entrepreneurship: Measurement issues and policy implications. In: Research Policy, (43)3, 476–494.

  • Adamczyk, S./Bullinger, A. C./Möslein, K. M. (2012): Innovation Contests: A Review, Classification and Outlook. In: Creativity and Innovation Management, (21)4, 335–360.

  • Aldrich, H. E./Yang, T. (2014): How do entrepreneurs know what to do? learning and organizing in new ventures. In: Journal of Evolutionary Economics, (24)1, 59–82.

  • Alvedalen, J./Boschma, R. (2017): A critical review of entrepreneurial ecosystems research: towards a future research agenda. In: European Planning Studies, (25)6, 887–903.

  • Anderson, A. R./Miller, C. J. (2003): “Class matters”: human and social capital in the entrepreneurial process. In: The Journal of Socio-Economics, (32)1, 17–36.

  • Auerswald, P. (2015): Enabling Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. Insights from Ecology to Inform Effective Entrepreneurship Policy (=Kauffman Foundation Research Series on City, Metro, and Regional Entrepreneurship). Source: https://www.kauffman.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/enabling_entrepreneurial_ecosystems.pdf (25.06.2020).

  • Autio, E./Kenney, M./Mustar, P./Siegel, D./Wright, M. (2014): Entrepreneurial innovation: The importance of context. In: Research Policy, (43)7, 1097–1108.

  • BarNir, A./Watson, W. E./Hutchins, H. M. (2011): Mediation and Moderated Mediation in the Relationship Among Role Models, Self-Efficacy, Entrepreneurial Career Intention, and Gender. In: Journal of Applied Social Psychology, (41)2, 270–297.

  • Batjargal, B. (2003): Social Capital and Entrepreneurial Performance in Russia: A Longitudinal Study. In: Organization Studies, (24)4, 535–556.

  • Bernoster, I./Rietveld, C./Thurik, A./Torrès, O. (2018): Overconfidence, Optimism and Entrepreneurship. In: Sustainability, (10)7, 2233.

  • Bliemel, M./Flores, R./Klerk, S. de/Miles, M./Costas, B./Monteiro, P. (2016): The role and performance of accelerators in the Australian startup ecosystem. Working Paper of the University New South Wales Business School. Source: http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:38003/bin8ca2e40f-1d69-4eb9-8d99-e332794b8f8f?view=true (24.06.2020).

  • Bosma, N./Hessels, J./Schutjens, V./van Praag, M./Verheul, I. (2012): Entrepreneurship and role models. In: Journal of Economic Psychology, (33)2, 410–424.

  • Brown, R./Mason, C. (2017): Looking inside the spiky bits: a critical review and conceptualisation of entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Small Business Economics, (49)1, 11–30.

  • Carbonara, E./Tran, H. T./Santarelli, E. (2019): Determinants of novice, portfolio, and serial entrepreneurship: an occupational choice approach. In: Small Business Economics, (31)3, 219.

  • Cavallo, A./Ghezzi, A./Balocco, R. (2019): Entrepreneurial ecosystem research: present debates and future directions. In: International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, (15)4, 1291–1321.

  • Clarysse, B./Wright, M./Bruneel, J./Mahajan, A. (2014): Creating value in ecosystems: Crossing the chasm between knowledge and business ecosystems. In: Research Policy, (43)7, 1164–1176.

  • Content, J./Bosma, N./Jordaan, J./Sanders, M. (2019): Entrepreneurial ecosystems, entrepreneurial activity and economic growth: new evidence from European regions. In: Regional Studies, (53), 1–13.

  • Credit, K./Mack, E. A./Mayer, H. (2018): State of the field: Data and metrics for geographic analyses of entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Geography Compass, (12)9, e12380.

  • Cukier, D./Kon, F. (2018): A maturity model for software startup ecosystems. In: Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, (7)1.

  • Davidsson, P./Honig, B. (2003): The role of social and human capital among nascent entrepreneurs. In: Journal of Business Venturing, (18)3, 301–331.

  • Delgado, M./Porter, M. E./Stern, S. (2010): Clusters and entrepreneurship. In: Journal of Economic Geography, (10)4, 495–518.

  • Dubini, P. (1989): The influence of motivations and environment on business start-ups: Some hints for public policies. In: Journal of Business Venturing, (4)1, 11–26.

  • Eickelpasch, A./Fritsch, M. (2005): Contests for cooperation—A new approach in German innovation policy. In: Research Policy, (34)8, 1269–1282.

  • Esteve-Pérez, S./Mañez-Castillejo, J. A. (2008): The Resource-Based Theory of the Firm and Firm Survival. In: Small Business Economics, (30)3, 231–249.

  • Feld, B. (2012): Startup Communities – Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in your City. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, USA.

  • Feldman, M. P. (2001): The Entrepreneurial Event Revisited: Firm Formation in a Regional Context. In: Industrial and Corporate Change, (10)4, 861–891.

  • Feldman, M. P./Francis, J./Bercovitz, J. (2005): Creating a Cluster While Building a Firm: Entrepreneurs and the Formation of Industrial Clusters. In: Regional Studies, (39)1, 129–141.

  • Feldman, M. P./Siegel, D. S./Wright, M. (2019): New developments in innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Industrial and Corporate Change, (28)4, 817–826.

  • Foo, M. D./Wong, P. K./Ong, A. (2005): Do others think you have a viable business idea? Team diversity and judges’ evaluation of ideas in a business plan competition. In: Journal of Business Venturing, (20)3, 385–402.

  • Forbes, D. P. (2005): Are some entrepreneurs more overconfident than others? In: Journal of Business Venturing, (20)5, 623–640.

  • Fotopoulos, G./Louri, H. (2000): Determinants of Hazard Confronting New Entry: Does Financial Structure Matter? In: Review of Industrial Organization, (17)3, 285–300.

  • Fotopoulos, G./Storey, D. J. (2019): Public policies to enhance regional entrepreneurship: another programme failing to deliver? In: Small Business Economics, (53)1, 189–209.

  • Gailly, B. (2006): Can You Teach Entrepreneurs to Write their Business Plan? An Empirical Evaluation of Business Plan Competitions. In: Fayolle, A./Klandt, H. (Eds.): International entrepreneurship education. Issues and newness. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, U.K, Northampton, Mass., 133–154.

  • Garud, R./Gehman, J./Giuliani, A. P. (2014): Contextualizing entrepreneurial innovation: A narrative perspective. In: Research Policy, (43)7, 1177–1188.

  • Gonzalez-Uribe, J./Leatherbee, M. (2018): The Effects of Business Accelerators on Venture Performance: Evidence from Start-Up Chile. In: The Review of Financial Studies, (31)4, 1566–1603.

  • Guerrero, M./Urbano, D./Fayolle, A./Klofsten, M./Mian, S. (2016): Entrepreneurial universities: emerging models in the new social and economic landscape. In: Small Business Economics, (47)3, 551–563.

  • Harrington, K. (2016): In Your Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Scaling? In: Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, (11)1, 126–142.

  • Hechavarría, D. M./Ingram, A. E. (2019): Entrepreneurial ecosystem conditions and gendered national-level entrepreneurial activity: a 14-year panel study of GEM. In: Small Business Economics, (53)2, 431–458.

  • Honig, B. (2001): Learning Strategies and Resources for Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs. In: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, (26)1, 21–34.

  • Honig, B. (2004): Entrepreneurship Education: Toward a Model of Contingency-Based Business Planning. In: Academy of Management Learning & Education, (3)3, 258–273.

  • Invernizzi, A. C./Menozzi, A./Passarani, D. A./Patton, D./Viglia, G. (2017): Entrepreneurial overconfidence and its impact upon performance. In: International Small Business Journal, (116)1, 709–728.

  • Isenberg, D. J. (2010): The big idea: How to start an entrepreneurial revolution. In: Harvard Business Review, (88)6.

  • Isenberg, D. J. (2011): Introducing the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem: Four Defining Characteristics. Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danisenberg/2011/05/25/introducing-the-entrepreneurship-ecosystem-four-defining-characteristics/ (25.02.2020).

  • Katz, J. A. (2003): The chronology and intellectual trajectory of American entrepreneurship education. In: Journal of Business Venturing, (18)2, 283–300.

  • Kerr, W. R./Lerner, J./Schoar, A. (2014): The Consequences of Entrepreneurial Finance: Evidence from Angel Financings. In: Review of Financial Studies, (27)1, 20–55.

  • Kiese, M./Kahl, J. (2017): Competitive funding in North Rhine-Westphalia. In: Competitiveness Review, (27)5, 495–515.

  • Klinger, B./Schündeln, M. (2011): Can Entrepreneurial Activity be Taught? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Central America. In: World Development, (39)9, 1592–1610.

  • Koellinger, P./Minniti, M./Schade, C. (2007): “I think I can, I think I can”: Overconfidence and entrepreneurial behavior. In: Journal of Economic Psychology, (28)4, 502–527.

  • Kuebart, A./Ibert, O. (2019): Beyond territorial conceptions of entrepreneurial ecosystems: The dynamic spatiality of knowledge brokering in seed accelerators. In: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, (63)2–4, 118–133.

  • Lovgren, A./Ross, R. B./Leschewski, A./Peterson, H. C. (2020): Do Entrepreneurial Assistance Programs Create Value for Agri-Food Entrepreneurs? In: Entrepreneurship Research Journal, (10)1, 377.

  • Lundström, A./Stevenson, L. A. (2005): Entrepreneurship Policy: Theory and Practice. (=International Studies in Entrepreneurship, Band 9). Springer: Boston, MA.

  • Lutz, E./Bender, M./Achleitner, A.-K./Kaserer, C. (2013): Importance of spatial proximity between venture capital investors and investees in Germany. In: Journal of Business Research, (66)11, 2346–2354.

  • Mack, E./Mayer, H. (2016): The evolutionary dynamics of entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Urban Studies, (53)10, 2118–2133.

  • Malecki, E. J. (2018): Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Geography Compass, (12)3, e12359.

  • Maskell, P./Bathelt, H./Malmberg, A. (2004): Temporary Clusters and Knowledge Creation: The Effects of International Trade Fairs, Conventions and Other Professional Gatherings. SPACES 2004–4. Source: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.463.8444&rep=rep1&type=pdf (26.06.2020).

  • Mason, C./Anderson, M./Kessl, T./Hruskova, M. (2020): Promoting student enterprise: Reflections on a university start-up programme. In: Local Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit, (35)1, 68–79.

  • McKenzie, D. (2017): Identifying and Spurring High-Growth Entrepreneurship: Experimental Evidence from a Business Plan Competition. In: American Economic Review, (107)8, 2278–2307.

  • McKenzie, D./Sansone, D. (2019): Predicting entrepreneurial success is hard: Evidence from a business plan competition in Nigeria. In: Journal of Development Economics, (141), 102369.

  • Michelsen, C./Wolf, H./Schwartz, M. (2013): Regional Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the Biotech Industry: Exploring the Transition from Award-Winning Nascent Entrepreneurs to Real Start-Ups. In: European Planning Studies, (21)11, 1708–1734.

  • Miller, D. J./Ács, Z. J. (2017): The campus as entrepreneurial ecosystem: the University of Chicago. In: Small Business Economics, (49)1, 75–95.

  • MIT (2020): MIT $100k. Source: https://www.mit100k.org/ (20.02.2020).

  • Motoyama, Y./Knowlton, K. (2017): Examining the Connections within the Startup Ecosystem: A Case Study of St. Louis. In: Entrepreneurship Research Journal, (7)1.

  • Neck, H. M./Meyer, G. D./Cohen, B./Corbett, A. C. (2004): An Entrepreneurial System View of New Venture Creation. In: Journal of Small Business Management, (42)2, 190–208.

  • Parker, S. C. (2013): Do serial entrepreneurs run successively better-performing businesses? In: Journal of Business Venturing, (28)5, 652–666.

  • Passaro, R./Quinto, I./Thomas, A. (2017): Start-up competitions as learning environment to foster the entrepreneurial process. In: International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, (23)3, 426–445.

  • Rasmussen, E./Borch, O. J. (2010): University capabilities in facilitating entrepreneurship: A longitudinal study of spin-off ventures at mid-range universities. In: Research Policy, (39)5, 602–612.

  • Rice University (2020): RICE Business Plan Competition. Source: https://rbpc.rice.edu/ (20.02.2020).

  • Ross, L. W./Byrd, K. A. (2011): Business Plan Competitions: Start-up “Idols” and Their Twenty-First Century Launch Pads. In: Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, (11)4, 53–64.

  • Russell, R./Atchison, M./Brooks, R. (2008): Business plan competitions in tertiary institutions: encouraging entrepreneurship education. In: Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, (30)2, 123–138.

  • Schäfer, S./Mayer, H. (2019): Entrepreneurial ecosystems: Founding figures and research frontiers in economic geography. In: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, (63) 2–4, 55–63.

  • Schwartz, M./Goethner, M./Michelsen, C./Waldmann, N. (2013): Start-up Competitions as an Instrument of Entrepreneurship Policy: The German Experience. In: European Planning Studies, (21)10, 1578–1597.

  • Sekula, R./Bakhru, S./Zappe, S. (2009): Playing to win. In: Nature Biotechnology, (27)9, 793–796.

  • Semrau, T./Werner, A. (2014): How Exactly Do Network Relationships Pay Off? The Effects of Network Size and Relationship Quality on Access to Start-Up Resources. In: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, (38)3, 501–525.

  • Shane, S./Cable, D. (2002): Network Ties, Reputation, and the Financing of New Ventures. In: Management Science, (48)3, 364–381.

  • Shane, S./Stuart, T. (2002): Organizational Endowments and the Performance of University Start-ups. In: Management Science, (48)1, 154–170.

  • Shepherd, D. A./Krueger, N. F. (2002): An Intentions–Based Model of Entrepreneurial Teams’ Social Cognition*. In: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, (27)2, 167–185.

  • Silver, J. K./Binder, D. S./Zubcevik, N./Zafonte, R. D. (2016): Healthcare Hackathons Provide Educational and Innovation Opportunities: A Case Study and Best Practice Recommendations. In: Journal of medical systems, (40)7, 177.

  • Spigel, B. (2016): Developing and governing entrepreneurial ecosystems: the structure of entrepreneurial support programs in Edinburgh, Scotland. In: International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development, (7)2, 141–160.

  • Spigel, B. (2017): The Relational Organization of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. In: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, (41)1, 49–72.

  • Spigel, B./Harrison, R. (2018): Toward a process theory of entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, (12)1, 151–168.

  • Spilling, O. R. (1996): The entrepreneurial system: On entrepreneurship in the context of a mega-event. In: Journal of Business Research, (36)1, 91–103.

  • Stam, E. (2015): Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Regional Policy: A Sympathetic Critique. In: European Planning Studies, (23)9, 1759–1769.

  • Stam, E. (2018): Measuring Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. In: O’Connor, A. et al. (Hrsg.): Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. (=International Studies in Entrepreneurship). Springer International Publishing: Cham, 173–197.

  • Stam, E./Spigel, B. (2018): Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. In: Clercq, D. de et al. (Eds.): The SAGE handbook of small business and entrepreneurship. SAGE: Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, 407–421.

  • Stam, E./van de Ven, A. (2019): Entrepreneurial ecosystem elements. In: Small Business Economics, . advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-019-00270-6.

  • Sternberg, R. (2007): Entrepreneurship, Proximity and Regional Innovation Systems. In: Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, (98)5, 652–666.

  • Sternberg, R./Bloh, J. v./Coduras, A. (2019): A new framework to measure entrepreneurial ecosystems at the regional level. In: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, (63)2–4, 103–117.

  • Sternberg, R./Litzenberger, T. (2004): Regional clusters in Germany--their geography and their relevance for entrepreneurial activities. In: European Planning Studies, (12)6, 767–791.

  • Stuetzer, M./Obschonka, M./Brixy, U./Sternberg, R./Cantner, U. (2014): Regional characteristics, opportunity perception and entrepreneurial activities. In: Small Business Economics, (42)2, 221–244.

  • van Auken, H./Fry, F. L./Stephens, P. (2006): The Influence of Role Models On Entrepreneurial Intentions. In: Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, (11)02, 157–167.

  • van de Ven, H. (1993): The development of an infrastructure for entrepreneurship. In: Journal of Business Venturing, (8)3, 211–230.

  • van Rijnsoever, F. J. (2020): Meeting, mating, and intermediating: How incubators can overcome weak network problems in entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Research Policy, (49)1, 103884.

  • Watson, K. (2019): Stimulating Entrepreneurial Behaviour Through Start-Up Competitions: Current Features of Provision in UK Higher Education Institutions. In: McAdam, M./Cunningham, J. A. (Hrsg.): Entrepreneurial Behaviour. Springer International Publishing: Cham, 121–143.

  • Watson, K./McGowan, P./Cunningham, J. A. (2018): An exploration of the Business Plan Competition as a methodology for effective nascent entrepreneurial learning. In: International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, (24)1, 121–146.

  • Watson, K./McGowan, P./Smith, P. (2015): Leveraging Effectual Means through Business Plan Competition Participation. In: Industry and Higher Education, (29)6, 481–492.

  • Wen, C. T./Chen, Y. W. (2007): The innovation process of entrepreneurial teams in dynamic business plan competition: from sense-making perspective. In: International Journal of Technology Management, (39)3/4, 346.

  • World Bank (2018): Tech Startup Ecosystem in West Bank and Gaza – Findings and Recommendations. Source: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/715581526049753145/pdf/126144-replacement-WBG-ecosystem-mapping-digital.pdf (25.06.2020).

  • World Economic Forum (2013): Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Around the Globe and Company Growth Dynamics. Source: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_EntrepreneurialEcosystems_Report_2013.pdf (25.06.2020).

  • Wright, M./Siegel, D. S./Mustar, P. (2017): An emerging ecosystem for student start-ups. In: The Journal of Technology Transfer, (42)4, 909–922.

  • Ylinenpää, H. (2009): Entrepreneurship and Innovation Systems: Towards a Development of the ERIS/IRIS Concept. In: European Planning Studies, (17)8, 1153–1170.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
$42.00
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.


or
Log in with your institution

Journal + Issues

Search