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Exploration of process and competitive factors of entrepreneurship in digital space: A multiple case study in Iran

Najmeh Hafezieh (Industrial Engineering Department, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran)
Peyman Akhavan (Department of Industrial Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran)
Farjam Eshraghian (University of Edinburgh Business School, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues

ISSN: 1753-7983

Article publication date: 8 November 2011




The purpose of this paper is to explore the process and competitive factors of entrepreneurship in digital space in Iran.


In the last decades, the development and advancement of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the business innovations related to them have defined a new economy which is known as “digital economy”. Establishing and running businesses in this digital space means carrying out a kind of electronic commerce by exploiting the internet and other electronic networks. The new digital economy provides exceptional opportunities for many entrepreneurs to create new ventures in different business areas according to electronic commerce models. Given that researchers in Iran have not studied digital entrepreneurship and there is a great interest in digital entrepreneurship, further research is needed on this subject. According to research in Canada by Carrier et al. on cyber entrepreneurship, the authors used the same method and studied five cases that work in digital entrepreneurship in Iran. In this paper, the authors first review the literature of digital entrepreneurship – digital entrepreneurship framework that include a typology of digital ventures and their characteristics, characteristics of digital entrepreneurs, and the distinctions between digital and traditional entrepreneurship. Then five digital entrepreneurs in Iran were surveyed to explore the process of their entrepreneurship and competitive elements applied by them.


The most notable contribution of this research is the focus on the process of this type of entrepreneurship and the steps which were used by entrepreneurs. Unlike the traditional forms of entrepreneurship, the entrepreneurs in cyber space in Iran did not examine the feasibility of their projects; also, the identification of a business opportunity created business ideas. Another contribution is that the authors found ten factors as the internet‐based entrepreneurs' competitive elements in Iran, and also found interesting results about characteristics of internet‐based entrepreneurs.


This paper provides an overview of internet‐based entrepreneurship in Iran. According to collected information, the authors propose the process of internet‐based entrepreneurship and its competitive elements, and establish a basis for future research.



Hafezieh, N., Akhavan, P. and Eshraghian, F. (2011), "Exploration of process and competitive factors of entrepreneurship in digital space: A multiple case study in Iran", Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 267-279.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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