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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | International Design Business Management (IDBM) | 2015
Thesis number: 14096
Influence of the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem on university-based startups: A case study of Aalto University.
Author: Mikkonen, Maria
Title: Influence of the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem on university-based startups: A case study of Aalto University.
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: International Design Business Management (IDBM)
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; yrittäjyys; entrepreneurship; innovaatiot; innovations; ekosysteemit; ecosystems; yliopistot; universities; yhteistyö; cooperation; Aalto-yliopisto; Aalto University
Pages: 100
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14096.pdf pdf  size:6 MB (6136541)
Key terms: entrepreneurship, innovation, ecosystem, opportunity development, entrepreneurial motivation, startup
Nowadays, universities have started to raise their heads about creating environments, which potentially can yield innovation and foster entrepreneurial activities. In Aalto University, both the students and the university have taken action to build an entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem (E&I), which through an environment consisting of human, social, intellectual and financial capital, would bring prosperity within the ecosystem, as well as to its surroundings; thus potentially contributing positively to the Finnish economy.

The purpose of this research was to look at the phenomena of entrepreneurship within a university environment, specifically within the Aalto University entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. Therefore, the aim is to contribute academically in terms of knowledge about opportunity development and entrepreneurial motivation, as well as provide practical implications for Aalto University in the form of concrete development suggestions.

In terms of entrepreneurial motivation, the results indicate that the student entrepreneurs were mostly motivated by pull-motivational factors, specifically improvement-driven factors. The specific factors were learning and personal growth, and desire for independence. Push-factors had only minimal effect, and against previous studies, these case-entrepreneurs did not regard earning a higher income as a motivational factor.

For the case entrepreneurs, opportunity development process had been quite straightforward and in general followed the opportunity development model proposed by Ardichvili et. al (2003). However, three changes to the model were made based on the research results: addition of positive entrepreneurial experience as an influencing factor, addition of entrepreneurial motivation as part of the model, and dividing entrepreneurial alertness into to two levels of activeness; passive alertness and active search for entrepreneurial opportunities. The primary influencing factors for the entrepreneurs had been prior knowledge and a positive initial entrepreneurial experience. Moreover, the importance of the team has been highlighted in this study.

Lastly, the study suggests concrete steps on how to improve the current Aalto University E&I ecosystem based on the reflections of the case-entrepreneurs. In general, all of the elements of the ecosystem had been used in the venture creation processes, however some having more weight than the others. The results indicate that the External E&I community had been used significantly less than the other parts of the ecosystem, in which the rest had had quite even distribution of usage
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