Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurial ecosystems

Entrepreneurial ecosystems have emerged as a new approach for policymaking and academic research into the role of context and systemic influences on entrepreneurship.



Paul Lassalle

Paul Lassalle is investigating the role of geography, institutional contexts and entrepreneurial ecosystems on the entrepreneurial activities of international entrepreneurs. His research also highlights the role of entrepreneurial learning in international new ventures, examining countries including the UK, France and Malta.

Samuel Mwaura

Samuel Mwaura is a Co-investigator in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research consortium as part of the GEM UK team and Co-Lead for GEM Scotland. GEM is the world’s most authoritative comparative study of entrepreneurial activity in the general adult population with studies in over 50 countries every year. GEM’s findings for Scotland and the UK, including insights from comparator countries, are shared with policymakers and other entrepreneurial ecosystem stakeholders annually and therefore contribute to various aspects of entrepreneurship policy in Scotland and the UK thus.

Katerina Nicolopoulou

Katerina Nicolopoulou has been a Co-I on the project “Entrepreneurial Eco-systems: impact on national and local economic growth and international competitiveness” (2016), funded by the Newton Fund Researcher Links scheme. The project developed a knowledge exchange workshop and PhD colloquium between scholars from UK and Turkish universities, to explore methodologies for studying Entrepreneurial Ecosystems.

As co-investigator, Samuel Mwaura has also contributed to benchmarking studies and other evaluations of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Scotland as a whole, and in the peripheral South of Scotland region. This ongoing work will contribute to policy on how local ecosystems in these areas can be enhanced, to help increase entrepreneurial activity in such areas and contribute to local economic development.

Eleanor Shaw

Professor Eleanor Shaw has been researching how entrepreneurs build and sustain networks and contribute to ecosystems from almost 25 years.Her work is interested in the entrepreneurial practices used to enter into ecosystems and to help sustain them.

She is interested in the resources contained within entrepreneurial ecosystems and how these can be accessed and leveraged for both individual venture gain and for the broader benefits of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Eleanor’s research has also examined the networking practises of women entrepreneurs and examined the impact of these on their experiences of entrepreneurship and of leading an entrepreneurial venture. Her research has identified differences in the networking practises of matched samples of male and female entrepreneurs which reveals that female entrepreneurs are routinely not identified by other (male) network participants as credible as their male counterparts.

Collectively, these findings have influenced policy interventions at UK and Scottish Government levels. These include the introduction of a Women’s Enterprise Strategy and changes to bank practises, specifically credit scoring applications for funding to support venture start-up and growth.

Her research on graduate entrepreneurs has found that depending on context, early stage entrepreneurs engage in differing networking practices with those embedded within more privileged contexts recognising the importance of leveraging boding social capital to provide access to resources contained in more distant part of their network.

Anna Spadavecchia

Anna Spadavecchia’s research interests are in the fields of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management, and Innovation from a regional perspective. She has worked on various historical and contemporary facets of these topics. One facet concerns the role of national and regional policies in promoting the development of small businesses (SMEs) and clusters in Italy from 1951 to 1991. An additional angle is the impact of external economies on the innovation activity of independent inventors, SMEs and large corporations. Dr Spadavecchia has also studied the use of patents by independent inventors and corporations in their attempts to control markets in Britain and the US during the early 20thcentury.

Bernd Wurth

Bernd Wurth is involved in research into the mechanisms that drive entrepreneurial ecosystems and how policy and practice can use these to influence (regional) socio-economic development. Bernd is the lead researcher on a project that develops models of the interaction of Scottish universities with the business sector. In collaboration with colleagues from the US, UK, Germany, Greece, and the Netherlands. Bernd is also working on new methodological tools that can capture these interactions and emergence.

Complementary to these activities, Bernd is a co-founder and the inaugural managing director of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Research Network Ltd. (EERN). EERN is a non-profit organisation that aims to form a community of researchers, entrepreneurs, and policymakers, among others, to enhance collaboration and fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and growth in regions around the world.

Nigel Lockett

Nigel Lockett’s interest in entrepreneurial systems spams nearly two decades with funded research projects from:

  • ESRC (Knowledge and technology transfer, innovation and competitive advantage: Past and present ES/E019560/1 - £267,000)
  • EPSRC (2006-08 EPSRC: Lancaster Centre for E-Management and E-Science EP/D055555/1 - £207,000 and 2006-07 InfoLab21 Knowledge Transfer Study - £20,000)

He has published outputs in:

  • Business History
  • Entrepreneurship and Regional Development
  • International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research
  • International Small Business Journal
  • Regional Studies
  • Sustainability
  • Technological Forecasting & Social Change

His 2012 ‘Opportunities, contradictions and attitudes: The evolution of university–business engagement since 1960’ paper with Rose, M., Dector, M., Robinson, S. and Jack, S., in Business History has been widely cited.

John Anderson

Dr John Anderson's early work in 1994 - “Local Heroes - Scotland’s Entrepreneurial Role Models” - examined the importance of identifying entrepreneurial role models and using them to help stimulate new venture creation in Scotland.

It was a key policy contribution to the work of Scottish Enterprise in the delivery of its major initiative “Improving the Business Birth Rate - Strategy for Scotland” and his research methodology for identifying entrepreneurial role models was adopted by Scottish Enterprise for their own Local Heroes publications in 1995, 1997 and 1999.

The impact of this early work was reviewed by Hunter Centre colleagues in 2002 and a paper presented at the 3rd International Entrepreneurship Forum at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Dr Anderson was directly involved in the creation of The Entrepreneurial Exchange, a peer learning organisation for entrepreneurs in Scotland and, as Chief Executive, led it to its role in the heart of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.