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Anders Billström

Policy makers and scholars assume that academic spin-offs, which are firms commercializing university knowledge, grow financially and contribute to economic development. However, a few studies have recently discovered that these firms also create societal impact. This study develops a conceptual framework of the academic entrepreneurship ecosystem and in particular the role of the university in creating societal impact of academic spin-offs. This study employs a case study design of academic spin-offs and firms spinning off from universities and research institutes, in Norway. The results show that the ecosystem and the university are key actors together with business actors in creating societal impact of academic spin-offs. These interactions create a system of societal development. The study extends research on academic entrepreneurship ecosystems and societal impact. Research and policy implications are provided.

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Adam Novotny

Universities have established Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) to strengthen ties between academic research and industrial applications. A primary goal of most TTOs is the creation of university spin-off firms (USOs) with strong potential for economic, technological, and societal impact. However, TTOs have been criticized that instead of bridging research and innovation, they reinforce the academic nature of USOs and inhibit their integration into the start-up incubation ecosystem (SUPIE) that provides innovative firms with vital resources. Using a sample of 155 Norwegian USOs, this chapter reveals that the TTO does not constrain the development of firms’ ecosystem networks, but it is more likely to bridge USOs with academic and public ecosystem actors than with non-academic actors or ones having a market-oriented logic. Furthermore, we propose a taxonomy of ecosystem networks in which USOs access resources: market partners, support providers, the university nest, and financial mentors.

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Kerul Kassel, Shelley F. Mitchell and Guénola Nonet Abord-Hugon

In order to gain a better understanding of Start-Up Incubation Ecosystems (SUPIEs) and contribute to this field, our research examines different types of Enterprise Support Organizations (ESOs) involving principles for conscious capitalism. Our review of the existing literature to date identified a gap in that very little theoretical and empirical research has been dedicated to defining these new types of ESOs (Levinsohn, 2015).  Two specific types of ESOs were studied: those that strive to support conscious capitalism and those supporting conventional capitalism, all located in the United States market. This chapter investigates how they describe their identity, their main characteristics and how they operate. The pronounced differences between the ESO groups occurred in how they articulated purposes and degree of stakeholder inclusion and values. Other distinguishing differences were the level of emphasis placed on the triple bottom line, certain success criteria and the time length ESOs supported their clients.

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Alan R. Johnson, Katherine E. Masyn and Alexander McKelvie

Continuous and survival outcomes are important for new venture research because explaining development and growth is difficult when continuous outcomes are zero. This chapter focuses on descriptive exploratory plots with multilevel and longitudinal data to make preliminary analyses of the effects of predictors, before fitting multivariate regression models. The chapter draws on analyses of 373 academic spin-off firms active in Norway between 2000 and 2015. These data come from archival sources and show how the relation between incubation and new venture performance is conditional on other ecosystem attributes, e.g. location and issued capital. We argue that descriptive exploratory plots can be used 1) like descriptive statistics with cross-sectional data; 2) to get a concrete and nuanced sense of the between- and within-subject relations; and 3) to assess range restriction on (semi-) continuous outcome variables, e.g., sales, employees. We conclude by suggesting that descriptive exploratory plots pose little threat to cumulative knowledge.

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Oliver Straub, Peter M. Bican and Alexander Brem

Prior literature analyzed why incubators exist and how to differentiate the various incubator types. However, measures that lead incubators to run as independent, self-sufficient incubation ecosystems (i.e. without the dependence on subsidies) remain largely absent. Based on a survey of 71 incubators, our results implied differences between the two groups in regard to their business models, with indications of significant differences in the customer value proposition, the profit formula, as well as the key resources and processes provided. The findings support previous claims regarding the need for a profit driven nature, regardless of business profit orientation, as well as generating diverse income streams to cover operational costs. Moreover, new insights on key elements of incubators’ business models within start-up incubation ecosystems are presented. With this chapter, practitioners as well as researchers will gain further understanding of the success factors of self-sufficient incubators that contribute to functioning incubation ecosystems.

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Tiago Ratinho

Entrepreneurship support – the provision of resources to assist aspiring entrepreneurs to start new ventures – is a global phenomenon with multiple public and private institutions engaging in a variety of activities as an attempt to increase entrepreneurial activity. The literature on the variety of entrepreneurship support initiatives is vast but largely overlooks the contextual specificities in which support takes place. Drawing on insights from the nascent literature on entrepreneurial ecosystem – that emphasizes the multilevel impacts of the environment on entrepreneurial activity – I conceptualize that entrepreneurship support manifests itself in three main domains: a) institutional support shapes the environment in which entrepreneurs operate; b) organizational support infuses resources in startups; and c) individual support develops entrepreneurial skills. I discuss the main characteristics of these three domains, how they contribute to explain entrepreneurial activity in an entrepreneurial ecosystem and how they lead to the emergence of a start-up incubation ecosystem.

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Matthew Good and Mirjam Knockaert

Universities are increasingly recognizing their entrepreneurial role, in which they actively engage in the transfer of knowledge through the establishment of university spin-offs. Following this evolution, technology transfer (TT) ecosystems within or close to many research universities have developed, uniting organizational entities (e.g. TT offices, incubators, etc.) that support entrepreneurial and startup activities. However, little research has empirically studied the TT ecosystem holistically. Using a qualitative case study approach, we compare the TT ecosystems at eight universities to understand how the characteristics of TT ecosystems differ between universities and what factors drive this variation. Specifically, we use an organizational design theoretical perspective to elucidate the activities, structure, purpose and people of TT ecosystems. Our findings point to variations between TT ecosystems, which we relate to several core drivers at the micro-, meso- and macro-levels. These drivers are important mechanisms for influencing the design of TT ecosystems to improve their effectiveness.

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Shruti Sardeshmukh, Allan O’Connor and Ronda Smith

Entrepreneurial ecosystems are incubators of start-up businesses, providing a nurturing environment, resources, and the context for start-up activity to flourish. Entrepreneurial activity from the perspective of an ecosystem is not well understood, and the flow of resources across levels has received limited research attention. While in general, the resources within an ecosystem have been considered from a top-down view as influential on start-up activity, there is little research on how resources that are held by individuals and organizations emerge as specific properties of the ecosystem. We contribute to the literature by providing a multilevel lens to understand the emergence of resources as the property of the ecosystem. By exploring the process of emergence of ecosystem resources, we bring forth implications that extend beyond the provisioning of resources to the ecosystem to highlight the importance of meso level structures that reinforce coalesced attributes of an ecosystem.

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Are Jensen, Nhien Nguyen and Jens Ø. Hansen

Business incubators have been steadily gaining acceptance as a device for supporting the establishment and growth of new technology-based firms (NTBFs) over the last several decades (Mian, Lamine, & Fayolle, 2016). Policymakers who recognize the importance of NTBFs to regional economies but are concerned by the low success rate and survivability of such firms often look to business incubation programmes as a feasible policy response. Despite the popularity of incubators, the detailed mechanisms through which incubation leads to enhanced entrepreneurial outcomes remain imperfectly understood. In this chapter we explore the role played by founders’ champion behaviour in the incubation value creation process.

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Christina Theodoraki and Karim Messeghem

In the Start-up Incubation Ecosystem, various strategies reinforced by public policies appear to foster the development of high potential firms and territorial economic growth. This chapter focuses on understanding incubators’ coopetition strategy with other ecosystem actors during the incubation process. Two emerging and popular concepts, rarely used simultaneously in the literature, are mobilized: coopetition and Start-up Incubation Ecosystem. An explorative qualitative study was conducted based on 39 semi-structured interviews with key actors of the Start-up Incubation Ecosystem in the South of France to reveal how coopetition strategies evolve during the incubation process. The chapter results in illustrative quotes that lead to three proposals regarding the link between coopetition relationships (competition-dominated; equal; cooperation-dominated) and the incubation process (selection; resources; network). The findings contribute in demonstrating the relevance of coopetition strategies in SUPIEs and better understanding the new measures used to reinforce territorial economic growth.