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Regional capability emergence in an entrepreneurial ecosystem

Kevin Walsh (University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

ISSN: 2045-2101

Article publication date: 6 September 2019

Issue publication date: 20 September 2019




Entrepreneurial ecosystems offer an approach to analyse the evolution and resilience of a region by placing the emphasis on the interactions that occur between entrepreneurs and the supporting regional resources. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the transformation of a region with high-growth firms to identify the coordinating structures that evolve in response to entrepreneurial recycling of resources.


This study uses network analysis to explore the scaling capability network of leaders in Dublin’s high-growth IT firms over a 15-year period.


After a gestation period of 10 years, leaders displayed prior experience from an initial entrant. Towards the end of the study period, numerous well-connected internet firms arose providing a structure resilient to exogenous and endogenous shocks.

Research limitations/implications

The findings suggest that the region’s structure changed from a satellite platform to a “hub and spoke” type district, and is showing signs of becoming a Marshallian type district, although the analysis is limited to regional knowledge capital through leadership mobility and does not consider the financial, social or institutional capital described in the entrepreneurial ecosystems literature.

Practical implications

Policy that aims to create regional resilience but minimise the scope of intervention needed can encourage the introduction of an anchor firm to a region and can complement this initiative with regional capability accumulation through labour policies that encourage resource recycling and minimise human capital leakage.


This contributes to an understanding of how entrepreneurial ecosystems evolve and the structure of the supporting resources that lead to increased regional resilience.



Walsh, K. (2019), "Regional capability emergence in an entrepreneurial ecosystem", Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 359-383.



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