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Start-ups in Science: Entrepreneurs, Diverse Backing, and Novelty Outside Business

The Sociology of Entrepreneurship

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1433-1, eISBN: 978-1-84950-498-0

Publication date: 23 April 2007


Sociological studies of entrepreneurship focus on social and technical innovations in business. Using an illustration from molecular plant biology and the historical evolution of the term “entrepreneur,” I make a case for the theoretical and methodological importance of studying entrepreneurs and their ventures outside the scope of traditional business. Then, considering the scientific lab as a self-consciously entrepreneurial venture, I use the population of molecular biology labs studying the plant Arabidopsis thaliana to demonstrate a relationship less directly measurable among start-ups in business: diverse sources of funding accompany original activities and ideas within a venture. This is not, however, what predicts lab success. Lab size drives success, but hinders originality. Moreover, I show that established institutions in science are usually the ones that become innovations in business.


Evans, J.A. (2007), "Start-ups in Science: Entrepreneurs, Diverse Backing, and Novelty Outside Business", Ruef, M. and Lounsbury, M. (Ed.) The Sociology of Entrepreneurship (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 25), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 261-305.



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