The genesis of entrepreneurial ecosystems: the case of Atlantic Canada
Entrepreneurial ecosystems is the latest buzz word in the lexicon of policy-makers, practitioners and the media and attracting considerable policy focus. Several studies have listed the attributes of entrepreneurial ecosystems. However, the emerging literature on entrepreneurial ecosystems takes a largely static approach, identifying their attributes. So how to entrepreneurial ecosystems come into being? This question requires an evolutionary perspective. The focus should be on the entrepreneurial process. Where did the original entrepreneurs emerge – which organisations performed as entrepreneurial incubators? How did the start-up process start and develop momentum? At what point in the process did support organisations emerge? And how did they emerge? Were any elements missing or deficient? If so, what were the consequences for the evolution of the entrepreneurial ecosystem? The research will be undertaken in Atlantic Canada (primarily Nova Scotia) – a peripheral, economically lagging region of Canada which has exhibited a number of the characteristics of an emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem within the past five years.
The research is a response to calls in the literature for more studies of the evolution of entrepreneurial ecosystems. It will also will give policy-makers a better understanding of the emergence and evolution of entrepreneurial ecosystems and thereby appreciate more clearly their scope for intervention and nature of possible interventions.– it will therefore also benefit current and future scholars who study this topic.
Professor Mason is co-author of a widely cited OECD paper on Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Growth-Oriented Entrepreneurship. This drew in part on the research that he undertook in the early 2000s on Ottawa’s technology cluster. He was keynote speaker at the 5th Workshop for Professionals of the Ecosystems in Latin America. Santiago, Chile, May 2015 and an expert summariser at the Kauffman Foundation’s Regional Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Conference on October 2015, at Kansas City, Missouri.
He has longstanding teaching and research links with Canada, having taught at the University of Ottawa and Memorial University of Newfoundland and was the inaugural holder of the David F Sobey Chair in Business at the Sobey School of Management at St Mary’s University Halifax. He has also been a recipient of various Canada-related teaching and research grants.