Purpose – This chapter examines how informal and formal entrepreneurial institutions are influenced by economic crises. These institutions act as the foundation for many, if not all, entrepreneurial activities, but they are highly vulnerable to change during times of crisis.
Design/methodology/approach – This chapter uses a case study of software entrepreneurs in Ottawa, Canada, to better understand the influence of the 2001 and 2008 recessions on the social and economic aspects of entrepreneurship. This case is examined through a set of 39 semi-structured interviews with entrepreneurs, investors, and economic development officers.
Findings – While informal entrepreneurial institutions have adapted to a changing economic environment, formal institutions and government programs have so far failed to do this. This results in less effective entrepreneurship support programs.
Research limitations/implications – As with other qualitative case studies, these findings are not generalizable to other regions. This chapter calls for further research is needed to better understand the social forces behind institutional change.
Practical implications – This chapter argues that entrepreneurship support programs must be customized to the informal social institutions that underlie all entrepreneurial behavior and practices. This alignment potentially increases the usefulness of such programs to entrepreneurs.
Originality/value of the paper– While entrepreneurship in Ottawa has been carefully studied, there has been very little work examining how technology entrepreneurship in Ottawa has fared after the decline of the telecommunications market. This chapter is useful to both entrepreneurship scholars as well as practitioners and policy makers interested in how entrepreneurial institutions react to crises.
Spigel, B. (2011), "Chapter 3 A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Growth, Decline, and Rebirth of Ottawa's Entrepreneurial Institutions", Libecap, G.D. and Hoskinson, S. (Ed.) Entrepreneurship and Global Competitiveness in Regional Economies: Determinants and Policy Implications (Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 47-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1048-4736(2011)0000022006
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