How Can We Do Uncommon Things?

Monday, March 13, 2017 | Sam Shelley

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Thought leaders from academia and industry gather to discuss entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurial Research Implications Span the Globe
Changing the World with Entrepreneurial Research

Recently, the 2017 Kenan Institute Frontiers of Entrepreneurial Research Conference took place, bringing together a group of distinguished thought leaders to discuss new frontiers of entrepreneurship. The importance of this conference is to allow “practitioners to take the best advantage of scholarly research to help understand the phenomenon of entrepreneurship; job creation, venture development, capital formation, and questions around the dynamics of innovation,” according to Ted Zoller, Ph.D. The practitioners include policymakers, the private sector, and citizens around the world. The implications of this research can span the globe.

Philip Gaskin, Director of Entrepreneurial Communities at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, spoke to a group of 50 prominent researchers, professors, and community members. As the keynote speaker, Gaskin talked about entrepreneurial ecosystems and their importance in today’s society.

Professor Ted Zoller presents at the Kenan Institute Frontiers of Entrepreneurial Research Conference.

Professor Ted Zoller presents at the Kenan Institute Frontiers of Entrepreneurial Research Conference.

Gaskin talked about entrepreneurial ecosystems, communities of people interacting in a system where the sum of the parts is greater than an individual’s contributions. According to Gaskin, the need for entrepreneurial ecosystems comes with the rapid national demographic changes, geographic changes, the shift from industrial jobs to networked jobs, and the collection of local economies that makes up our national economy.

By 2050, more than half of Americans will be made up of racial minorities, and today, non-minorities are twice as likely to open a business. Gaskin spoke of the fundamental right to be an entrepreneur, and the Kauffman Foundation hopes to promulgate a new model, tools, and metrics for entrepreneurial-led economic development. According to Gaskin, the Kauffman Foundation’s work hopes to break down barriers to startups and growth for all. Also, he mentioned that the democratization of entrepreneurship would help “infuse entrepreneurship into economic development.”

Other key speakers included Rory McDonald, Ph.D., of Harvard Business School, Riitta Katila, Ph.D., of Stanford Graduate School of University, and Aaron Chatterji, Ph.D., of Duke Fuqua School of Business. When speaking about key objectives of the conference, Ted Zoller, Ph.D., mentioned, “the idea is to make entrepreneurship in the mainstream of research in the fields of economics, sociology, anthropology, and strategy.” Other goals of the conference were to look at the cutting-edge research, unlock new truths about entrepreneurship, and develop research that can improve the future for other scholars.