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Purpose – The purpose of this study is to gain insights into strategies used by entrepreneurs developing radical innovations to influence the system surrounding them…
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to gain insights into strategies used by entrepreneurs developing radical innovations to influence the system surrounding them. Specific attention is given to determine the differences between environmental-technology entrepreneurs (ETEs) and non-eco radical innovation entrepreneurs.
Methodology/approach – Ten entrepreneurs (five ETEs) in the Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector are selected for this case study. Their motivations and strategic actions are determined through interviews. The results are analysed using an innovation system function approach.
Findings – Radical innovations in the sector encounter barriers due to the lack of relevant knowledge and subsidies that support the old system. To overcome this, the studied entrepreneurs focus their strategies on building new innovation systems. Interestingly, ETEs receive more governmental support and try to improve the sector as a whole. However, sustainability alone is not enough to create added value.
Social implications – Policy makers can provide better support for radical innovations by increasing the availability of relevant knowledge and creating a level playing field. Alternatively, they can present these pioneering entrepreneurs as examples for others to follow. Sustainability has been important in the sector for some time, but until now has not changed the nature of business.
Originality/value of paper – In innovation systems research, the micro-level actions of entrepreneurs have not received much attention. Furthermore, the insights regarding motivations and strategies of radical innovation entrepreneurs in the context of a mature system are novel. Finally, the results regarding barriers for ETEs are an original addition to the theory of barriers for eco-innovations.