Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Energy and Environmental Technologies : Barriers and Opportunities
Abstract: During the past three decades environmental concerns have attracted more attention in order tofind more environmental benign and sustainable technologies. The role of entrepreneurs in the transformation of energy sector toward the sustainable and clean technologies has been significantly highlighted. The main aim of this research is to study the barriers to innovative anentrepreneurial activities related to the field of energy and environment. Another objectives of this research is to remark some of the key success factor of entrepreneurs in coping with the problems and obstacles in this field. In order to fulfill the aims and objectives of this research, two main research tools has been chosen: a) the review of literature and the secondary data, and b) interviewing the currently active entrepreneurs who are currently working in the field of energy and environment in Sweden in order to collect some qualitative primary data. The criteria by which companies are defined as active in the field of energy and environment are: more efficient use of resources, no or very low damages to the environment, and increasing the quality and standards of life of people. Most of the clean and sustainable energy technologies are in the R&D phase, so they depend mainly on university research. Since the pace of accomplishing project in universities are slower than that of the industry, being in R&D phase has caused some barriers to the innovative and entrepreneurial activities in this field. Also, any new technology in this industry should be able to compete with the old efficient and cheap technologies available in the market. This causes some difficulties in the process of commercialization of new technologies. Based on the results of the research, the industry of clean and sustainable energy technologies cannot be considered as an attractive industry for entrepreneurs. Although some areas of the industry could include technologies which seek less capital, this industry is still considered capital intensive. It is discussed in details that capital investment could be considered as a potential barrier. Knowledge spillover and internalization could be managed to act as a promoter of innovation, otherwise knowledge spillover and internalization act as a barrier to entrepreneurs due to the harms caused by free-riders and highly priced SETs, respectively. Policies, laws and regulations play a very important role in this respect. They can make either barriers or create opportunities, depending on how well-designed the regulations are. Being flexible, choosing an appropriate mentor, and taking advantage of environmental policies are among the success factors that entrepreneurs working in this field have suggested as strategiesto cope with the aforementioned problems.
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