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Chairs: Ben Spigel, Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Edinburgh Business School, UK, & Fumi Kitagawa, Lecturer, University of Edinburgh Business School, UK.

In recent years, entrepreneurial ecosystems have re-emerged as an important topic across fields such as entrepreneurship studies, economic geography, and policy research (Pitelis 2012, Qian, Acs et al. 2013, Mack and Mayer 2015, Spigel 2015). However, despite its popularity amongst policymakers (World Economic Forum 2014) and entrepreneurs themselves (Feld 2012), there has been limited conceptual or empirical work that helps to define ecosystems or explain how they initial develop and influence the entrepreneurship process. As Stam (2015) argues, entrepreneurship research has been so far led by policy interest rather than strong research results motivating policy development.

The goal of this session is to highlight new research on entrepreneurial ecosystems, entrepreneurial environments, and regional entrepreneurship policy in order to bring more theoretical and empirical rigour to their study. We are particularly interested in papers on topics such as:

  • New empirical studies of entrepreneurial ecosystems using innovative methodological approaches
  • Micro and macro perspectives of entrepreneurial ecosystems
  • Conceptual development of ecosystem models and frameworks
  • Integration of ecosystem concepts with other conceptual domains such as institutional or evolutionary approaches
  • Geographical perspectives on entrepreneurial regions and the entrepreneurship process
  • Ecosystem policies and connections with other policy themes such as smart specialization



Feld, B. (2012). Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in your City. Hoboken, NJ, Wiley.

Mack, E. and H. Mayer (2015). "The evolutionary dynamics of entrepreneurial ecosystems." Urban Studies.

Pitelis, C. (2012). "Clusters, entrepreneurial ecosystem co-creation, and appropriability: a conceptual framework." Industrial and Corporate Change 21(6): 1359-1388.

Qian, H., Z. J. Acs and R. R. Stough (2013). "Regional systems of entrepreneurship: the nexus of human capital, knowledge and new firm formation." Journal of Economic Geography 13: 559-587.

Spigel, B. (2015). "The Relational Organization of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems."Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice.

Stam, E. (2015). "Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Regional Policy: A Sympathetic Critique." European Planning Studies: 1-11.

World Economic Forum (2014). Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Around the Globe and Early-Stage Company Dynamics — The Entrepreneur's Perspective. Geneva, Switzerland.

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