The Entrepreneurial Economy as a Complex Evolving System


Prof dr Erik Stam, Utrecht University

Scholars and practitioners alike are concerned with the quantity and quality of entrepreneurial activity in society. Borrowing from biology, the metaphor of an entrepreneurial ‘ecosystem’ is increasingly used by scholars and practitioners for understanding the context for entrepreneurship in particular territories (countries, regions, cities). The metaphor should not be taken too literally, as the research object concerns (artificial) entrepreneurial economies or economic systems, and not natural ecosystems. We define entrepreneurial ecosystems as a set of interdependent actors and factors governed in such a way that they enable productive entrepreneurship within a particular territory. These actors are able to anticipate, modify their strategies, and co-create their environment (as opposed to e.g. organisms in a biological ecosystem).

In this presentation I will conceptualize entrepreneurial economies as complex evolving systems, building complexity economics, and illustrate this with recent empirical findings on the nature and quality of entrepreneurial ecosystems in Europe.  



About the speaker

Erik Stam is Professor of Strategy, Organization & Entrepreneurship and Dean of the Utrecht University School of Economics. He is currently Visiting Professor at the IMT School of Advanced Studies Lucca, and has been affiliated to many institutes globally, including the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Max Planck Institute of Economics (Jena, Germany), and Zhejiang University (Hangzhou). He is a leading scholar on entrepreneurial ecosystems, and conducts research on the context and consequences of entrepreneurship more broadly. He has (co-)authored more than hundred books, book chapters, and articles in a variety of disciplines, including economics, geography, business/management and public administration. He is editor of the journal Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. Next to his scientific work he often engages with governments, start-ups and corporates on innovation and entrepreneurship.



Venue: via Zoom (please contact us at seminars@merit.unu.edu for the Zoom link)

Date: 29 April 2021

Time: 12:00 - 13:00


UNU-MERIT