University-Centered Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: A Conceptual Framework
Kulcsszavak:Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, Entrepreneurial University, Entrepreneurship Education, Higher Education
Research on entrepreneurial ecosystems has advanced considerably over recent years and has become a popular topic among policy makers. Despite the interest, research on the topic has focused overly on entrepreneurial ecosystems in large cities in the United States (US). Ecosystems in other contexts, such as, small cities, underpopulated rural areas and university towns have not been considered in much depth, nor has there been much focus on regional contexts outside of the US. This paper begins to address this deficit by reviewing three groups of literature. From the review conducted the paper builds a conceptual framework to consider entrepreneurial ecosystems led by universities. First, the paper considers the literature on entrepreneurial ecosystems and it explores its implications for understanding the concept in small towns. Next, the paper considers the literature on entrepreneurial universities and explores how it informs our understanding of the role of universities in regional innovation. Then the paper incorporates current thinking on entrepreneurship education to consider how education and learning practices help build and grow such ecosystems. The paper concludes by drawing together these literatures into a conceptual framework outlying the structure, components and mechanisms that enable universities to operate as catalysts in the creation of entrepreneurial ecosystems in smaller cities. The paper makes a contribution by drawing disparate ideas across several domains together into a set of concepts that can be tested empirically and can be used practically to guide efforts to enhance regional entrepreneurship and innovation.