Handbook of Research on Energy Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research on Energy Entrepreneurship

Edited by Rolf Wüstenhagen and Robert Wuebker

This timely Handbook provides an excellent overview of our knowledge on the drivers, influencing factors and outcomes of energy entrepreneurship. As the world grapples with global resource crunches and fights to reap the rewards of new energy technologies, a wide space for entrepreneurial opportunity has emerged. The Handbook of Research on Energy Entrepreneurship offers critical insight on how nations the world over can make full use of those opportunities.
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Chapter 3: Prolonged Gestation and Commitment to an Emerging Organizational Field: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Businesses in Minnesota 1993–2009

Alfred Marcus, Marc H. Anderson, Susan Cohen and Kathleen Sutcliffe


3 Prolonged gestation and commitment to an emerging organizational field: energy efficiency and renewable energy businesses in Minnesota, 1993–2009* Alfred Marcus, Marc H. Anderson, Susan Cohen and Kathleen Sutcliffe 1 INTRODUCTION Not all businesses pass smoothly through stages of introduction, growth, and maturity, or are propelled forward by increases in sales (Porter, 1980). Some show promise but fail to take off. Some remain stagnant for long periods – neither gaining momentum nor expiring. To move from initiation to take-off, critical mass and momentum are needed, a process that can be of lengthy duration (Van de Ven and Garud, 1989). Klepper and Grady (1990) found some businesses which moved from origin to take-off in just two years while others took more than 50 years (Aldrich and Fiol, 1994). The average movement from initiation to take-off was 29 years and the standard deviation 15 years, suggesting that the range of take-off time is great (Klepper and Grady, 1990). Founders and entrepreneurs need considerable commitment if they are to succeed. Between start-up and take-off commitment is especially needed, since it is in this interval that founders may give up. Their interest wanes, they lose patience, and lack the determination and resolution to deal with setbacks. In this chapter, we consider the evolutionary pattern among energy efficiency and renewable energy (EERE) businesses, starting in the 1990s, a time when these businesses made progress but did not take off. Although EERE businesses floundered in the 1990s many of them did not give up. The question...

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