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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2013
Thesis number: 13222
Entrepreneurial opportunity development -How entrepreneurs turn ideas into viable business concepts
Author: Henriksson, Kristian Vilhelm
Title: Entrepreneurial opportunity development -How entrepreneurs turn ideas into viable business concepts
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; yrittäjyys; entrepreneurship; yrittäjät; entrepreneurs; liikeidea; business idea
Pages: 38
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13222.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1537139)
Key terms: entrepreneurship; yrittäjyys; innovations; innovaatiot; opportunity; liiketoimintamahdollisuus
This thesis sets out to provide contribution to the on-going and still emergent discussion of opportunity development. The focus of the research is opportunity development in the context of early stage start-ups. More generally, I was interested in how do entrepreneurs developing high novelty opportunities make sense of the early development phase of their new venture? The research follows qualitative phenomenological approach.

Start-ups were selected as target to inspect the opportunity development in a setting with little structures and processes. This also enabled the researcher to tap into the mind-sets and attitudes of innovators, while they were simultaneously refining their idea. The participants were sampled from a population of young entrepreneurs around Helsinki region, who were active in developing their start-up companies together with their entrepreneurial team.

Although small and experimental, this study highlights that early opportunity development is a combination of two distinctive groups of activities: 1.) Entrepreneurs conduct sense-making activities in order to piece by piece better understand the opportunity and its implications. 2.) They start building momentum and gathering resources for their venture, even when the opportunity is still unclear.

I have grounded the examination of opportunity development to uncertainty. The undefined stage of the idea leads to high level of uncertainty and especially in the case of new ventures we also don't have enough resources to deal with all possible sources of uncertainty and complexity (Miller, 2007; Sarasvathy et al., 2010). Subjects seem to have two distinctive strategies for handling uncertainty. Under the sense-making theme subjects were faced with a vast amount of possible directions to select, in order to refine the opportunity. Personal experiences and identity provided some direction for these selections. Limiting commitments and conducting only small steps effectively controls the potential losses of the development. The gathering theme proposes that entrepreneurs can actively influence the potential for success under high uncertainty. By gathering loose commitments and energy around the venture, entrepreneurs have a larger set of eyes and hands providing direction and help to overcome challenges. The momentum can drive the venture forward, even when the team is forced to significantly change the direction and features of the opportunity.
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