How do serial entrepreneurs impact a tech ecosystem?

Technology ecosystems are known throughout the world to be important for generating innovative and entrepreneurial businesses. This research studies entrepreneurs within the Waterloo Region ecosystem to determine similarities in their experiences and share learning from their ventures.

What you need to know:

Serial entrepreneurs both give and take from the ecosystems where they have built their firms. The Waterloo Region ecosystem provides an environment where entrepreneurs can find support and mentorship as well as satisfaction and confirmation that what they do is valued. Serial entrepreneurs in the region expand with each venture, offering advice, mentoring and investment to others within the ecosystem, promoting continued rounds of innovation and commercialization in doing so.

More Details:

What did the researchers do?

Scott Ensign and Steve Farlow studied 12 serial entrepreneurs from within Waterloo Region to ask:

  1. what impact has the ecosystem had on their success; and
  2. how are they contributing to the growth of the ecosystem?

The team studied published articles, corporate websites and books to review each entrepreneur’s history and determine their relevant learning.

What did the researchers find?

The researchers found that many of the entrepreneurs shared similarities with regards to how they established themselves and found business success. Many echoed sentiments regarding the ecosystem in Waterloo region as contributing to their success by providing an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and validation of their chosen career path. Additional shared comments included the strength of social networking found at both the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as the personal enjoyment gained from entrepreneurship itself.

In all cases, these entrepreneurs have chosen to give back to the same ecosystem that supported them by providing mentorship, advice and sometimes investment to young entrepreneurs in the region. The ecosystem seems to promote continued rounds of innovation and commercialization by connecting these experienced entrepreneurs with new ones.

How can you use this research?

Young entrepreneurs can use this research to seek mentorship, advice and investment from the entrepreneurs studied as well as heed their learning regarding the successful creation of new ventures.

Tech ecosystems can use this research to determine critical elements of a successful ecosystem that may be missing from their own.

Want to know more?

Contact Scott Ensign

Article citation: Ensign, Prescott & Farlow, Steve (2016). Serial Entrepreneurs in the Waterloo Ecosystem. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, December 2016.

Megan Hall

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Megan Hall