Master Thesis on Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in the Energy Industry

A thesis in WU’s SIMC master entitled “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in the Energy Industry” has recently been finished. Here the abstract:

The nature of entrepreneurial ecosystems has been actively explored by academics in recent years. The topics of entrepreneurial ecosystems and new venture creation are of significance for regional policymakers, entrepreneurs, incumbents from various industries, and researchers. Here, the study narrows the focus slightly to the perspective of large energy firms and their strategic positioning in an ecosystem. Since its inception, the theory of entrepreneurial ecosystems, however, has not fully explained the mechanisms behind the interactions between different actors and their roles. This project will fill the gap by analyzing ties between the elements of an ecosystem. The aim is to develop a set of recommendations on how to accelerate innovation by engaging actively in an ecosystem and determine what benefits contributing to the creation of infrastructure for entrepreneurship might bring.

Advancements in information and communication technology along with changing consumer behavior are driving innovation across industries. This is reflected in the emergence of new business models as well as the entry of new players. Adopting the perspective of entrepreneurial ecosystems implies decreasing importance of the organizational boundaries of a firm. In an ecosystem the performance of actors is interdependent, meaning partnerships and collaborative initiatives are key to success. Established firms are important elements of an ecosystem. Corporates play a major role as customers, as well as partners for startups. Their assets and resources include human capital, financing, market access, the ability to invest in infrastructure and education. However, there are no standard strategies or frameworks on how corporates can engage in entrepreneurial ecosystems, given all systems emerge under unique conditions and have distinctive characteristics.

This project explores how large energy firms can influence an ecosystem by fostering collaboration between different actors since the success of incumbents highly depends on their interaction with other players in an ecosystem.