University of Turku in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem of Turku
In addition to high quality research and education, improving the social and economic well-being is one of the key outcomes of higher education institutions. With regards to the concept of entrepreneurial university the generation of well-being can be addressed through the role of University of Turku in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Entrepreneurial ecosystem is defined as a system which comprises all stakeholders outside an individual which are conducive to his/her choice to become an entrepreneur and which improve the chances of creating successful new ventures (Isenberg, 2011; Stam, 2015). It covers actors (support and mentoring services, incubators, networking activities), resource providers (funding, business angels, linkages between firms, linkage to universities), connectors (professional associations, communities, business centers, matching services), and orientation (role models, education, culture supporting entrepreneurship) (Mason & Brown, 2014). In addition to having various stakeholders, it takes time for an entrepreneurial ecosystem to find its shape, actors and outcomes.
In his book ‘Startup Communities’ Brad Feld (2012) reflected his experiences on how local entrepreneurial ecosystems develop over time. In summary he introduced so called Boulder Theses to guide area around the world to further understand and aid economic and social well-being. According to Feld:
These experience-based theses have been studied by Motoyama et al. (2014): Entrepreneurship is a local phenomenon, entrepreneurs follow local entrepreneurs, and local networks thicken over time. Localization also means that one size or shape does not fit all. Thus, if an ecosystem is guided by entrepreneurs and their needs, University of Turku as any other stakeholder has several meanings for the ecosystem. As an engine of new knowledge and home of brilliant minds University of Turku continuously generates inputs and human capital that benefit the ecosystem, economy, and the society. Accordingly, we re-introduce a sketch of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Turku by using Isenberg’s (2014) framework. This snapshot does not, of course, include all stakeholders, but it serves as a framework for further development along with the other frameworks, for instance the framework introduced by the Science Park Turku. Key issue is to make us and stakeholders to think how our entrepreneurial ecosystem appears in five or ten years.
Writer works as a senior researcher in the Entrepreneurship Unit at the University of Turku, School of Economics.
Feld, B. (2012). Startup communities: Building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in your city. John Wiley & Sons.
Isenberg, D. (2016) Applying the ecosystem metaphor to entrepreneurship: Uses and abuses. Antitrust Bulletin, 61(4), 564–573.
Mason, C. and Brown, R. (2014). Entrepreneurial ecosystems and growth oriented entrepreneurship. Paris: Final Report to OECD http://lib.davender.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Entrepreneurial-ecosystems-OECD.pdf
Motoyama, Y., Konczal, J., Bell-Masterson, J. and Morelix, A. (2014) Think Locally, Act Locally: Building a Robust Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. http://www.kauffman.org/what-we-do/research/2014/04/think-locally-act-locally-building-a-robust-entrepreneurial-ecosystem
Stam, E. (2015) Entrepreneurial ecosystems and regional policy: A sympathetic critique. European Planning Studies, 23(9), 1759–1769.