The entrepreneur in the cluster
Entrepreneurship has become an important issue in the modern society where the business landscape consists of many small and medium sized firms. These firms have all been started by an entrepreneur who has identified and business idea and developed that idea into a new venture. We therefore see the idea identification and idea development process as a central part of the creation of a new firm.
A concept that has become popular in the discussion about entrepreneurship is the cluster concept and dynamic business settings. These concepts are based on the fact that in some geographical regions more firms are started than in other geographical locations. These firms are often started in the same field or industry which has lead to theories that the environment supports and stimulates entrepreneurship. The studies about clusters have often been conducted with an organizational perspective and studied formal contacts within clusters. Therefore we in this study want to study how cluster environments support entrepreneurs in their idea identification and idea development process with the perspective of the individual entrepreneur.
The study is based on a theoretical framework built around the cluster theories develop by Michael Porter who is considered to be the father to this concept. In addition to this we also present theories about the importance of untraded interdependencies, the triple helix, spin-offs and entrepreneurs as organizational products.
The empirical material for this study has been collected through interviews with five entrepreneurs in Sweden’s famous ICT cluster Kista Science City just outside Stockholm. These interviews are later presented as five individual cases which describe the idea identification and development process. The results from these interview shows that the cluster environment can support the entrepreneurs in several ways. The support we have found in this study could be linked to the existence of untraded interdependencies that provided the entrepreneurs with access to information, knowledge and experts through networks. These factors were useful both in the idea identification and the idea development process.
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