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The entrepreneurial ecosystem and born globals: the Estonian context

Hannes Velt (School of Business and Management, Lappeenrannan Teknillinen Yliopisto, Lappeenranta, Finland)
Lasse Torkkeli (School of Business and Management, Lappeenrannan Teknillinen Yliopisto, Lappeenranta, Finland)
Sami Saarenketo (School of Business and Management, Lappeenrannan Teknillinen Yliopisto, Lappeenranta, Finland)

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 14 May 2018

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to develop a framework of the elements of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the context of born global start-ups. The study also applies this framework to uncover the ecosystem elements that impact start-ups during their initial phases of discovery and validation.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used an online survey questionnaire sent out to several Estonian start-ups. Based on the responses, a dataset was developed and analysed using STATA and t-test methodology.

Findings

The analysis resulted in the identification of seven systemic ecosystem elements as the main factors impacting the launch and ten elements impacting the growth of born global start-ups. The systemic elements that comprise the ecosystem’s strengths and weaknesses were also identified.

Research limitations/implications

The cross-sectional nature of the survey method and the single-country context are noted as limitations of the study and offer future research potential for longitudinal settings, for mixed method studies and for comparative country data.

Practical implications

The study suggests that start-ups should function in a more collective manner to create platforms, promote one another’s products and services where possible and launch collective initiatives to enhance their visibility in the global context. Born globals should engage with their local entrepreneurial ecosystem, while remaining aware of its relative strengths and weaknesses for supporting internationalisation.

Social implications

Although the local ecosystem involves many stakeholders, this study helps identify key stakeholders that should be focused on by the government. Doing so will help create an increasingly comprehensive ecosystem at the national level – one that functions efficiently in supporting growth-seeking enterprises such as born globals.

Originality/value

This study combines the two research streams of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and born globals by directly connecting them with systemic elements. This study is, to our knowledge, the first to combine the two, thus making an added contribution by highlighting macro- and micro-viewpoints, with the former lacking in research on born globals and the latter in research on ecosystems. Thus, the present study helps in bringing venture creation and local ecosystem development research closer to each other.

Keywords

Citation

Velt, H., Torkkeli, L. and Saarenketo, S. (2018), "The entrepreneurial ecosystem and born globals: the Estonian context", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 117-138. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-08-2017-0056

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited