Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Life Science Industry : A study of start-ups, scale ups and resilience of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Sammanfattning: The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (EE) literature has presented itself as promising in recent years, as it adopts a systemic network approach on entrepreneurship. Despite its popularity, scholars have also raised some serious concerns, showing it is yet a rather underdeveloped concept. This dissertation addresses some of critiques on the EE literature by proposing four research papers that consist of conceptual and empirical studies. The thesis contributes first and foremost to the development of the EE literature by combining insights from other literatures including the ones on entrepreneurship, regional studies, resilience and social capital.Conceptually, the dissertation takes stock of EE research based on a thorough literature review. The paper outlines the historical roots and antecedents of the EE concept, and it discusses the various definitions of EE, its constituent parts, and evolving trends in the EE literature. Most importantly, it critically assesses current findings and highlights a number of weaknesses of the EE literature. It comes to the conclusion that there is a lack of clarity with respect to a number of features of the EE concept. Based on this critical review, a future research agenda is presented that aims to tackle those weaknesses.Empirically, the dissertation addresses some of these critiques in three empirical papers. For instance, the thesis conducts a comparative regional study and applies a multi-scalar approach to outline the specific nature and structure of EEs in Life Sciences in five regions in two countries – the US and Sweden. The role of linkages and institutions both inside and outside EEs are examined not only in general but also specifically for the scale-up process of Life Science firms in EEs. Hence, the thesis shows how EEs in different regions differ in how they support or hinder the growth of firms, highlighting the factors important specifically to productive entrepreneurship. The relative importance of factors (firm-specific and external factors) and how they influence each other are also examined. Moreover, the thesis also accounts for dynamics in EEs and their resilience. It studies a closure of a big multinational firm in an EE to see what implications it had for the functioning and transformation of the EE.Finally, the dissertation offers a discussion on specific policies on EE that could improve the entrepreneurial performance of a region by (i) supporting an environment favorable to start-ups and growth of firms, providing basic conditions and stimuli (ii) supporting reinforcing mechanisms in EEs, and (iii) eliminating institutional and non-institutional obstacles.