Foresight and STI Governance, 2019 (4) en-us Copyright 2019 Fri, 06 Dec 2019 17:11:09 +0300 Entrepreneurship Ecosystems in Post-Socialist Economies The introductory article by the guest editor reveals the essence of the concept of “entrepreneurial ecosystem” (EE), its main components, and outlines the main directions of EE research with an emphasis on countries with economies in transition presented in the papers of the special issue. Ecosystem as the Source of Entrepreneurial Opportunities The present paper aims to develop an understanding of interconnections between the entrepreneurial ecosystem and entrepreneurial opportunity. The first step of this research was to disclose the development of the ecosystem within two higher (efficiency- and innovation-driven) stages of economic development and the transition between them according to the World Economic Forum, based on the model by Dutch researcher Erik Stam. The Estonian entrepreneurial ecosystem was analyzed as an example. Secondary data on Estonian entrepreneurial ecosystems were collected and analyzed.In its second step, this research follows a case-study design. The start-up period of the studied Estonian companies represents different degrees of the maturity of the ecosystem: Regio and Mobi Solutions – efficiency-driven, GrabCAD – the transition from efficiency to innovation-driven, and Bolt (Taxify) – an innovation-driven economy.The example of the Estonian ICT sector proves that the most important contributors to the talent growth, the knowledge base, and framework conditions of the entrepreneurial ecosystem are the state through its infrastructure decisions and educational programs along with successful entrepreneurs who shape the role models known in Estonia today as the Skype-effect. Decisions on digital telecom infrastructure and e-society in the early stage of the transition in tandem with enterprise encouragement created a subsequent boom in ICT-based ventures in Estonia 10-15 years later. The processes resulted in achieving an innovation-driven society and the highest level of opportunity-driven entrepreneurship in Europe in 2017. With that, new venture funding has replaced the former development engine – foreign direct investment (FDI).Examples of ICT-based new ventures have demonstrated that the growing maturity of the ecosystem increased venture investment from “bootstrapping” to millions of euros of seed-funding and shortened new product development cycles from 5-7 to 1-3 years. The study shows that maturing ecosystems shorten business development processes, thereby increasing the integration of different ecosystems. The start-up success stories enhance trust in the particular business environment, and they both increase investments and accelerate the entry of new ventures, making better use of the emerging windows of opportunities. Entrepreneurial Innovations in Countries at Different Stages of Development The aim of our paper is to provide a comprehensive picture of the role of innovation within the entrepreneurial ecosystem in certain countries. In this way, we propose the following research question as to what kind of interrelatedness can be observed between the innovation capability of a country and other elements of its entrepreneurial ecosystem. Ninety-five countries have been involved in our analysis, which initially have been grouped by their level of economic development and a group of transition countries has been created as well. In order to measure these relations, the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) was applied. This index measures the qualitative aspects of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in a national context. The index consists of fourteen pillars covering the relevant aspects of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Out of the pillars, there are three pillars associated with three different aspects of innovation: Technology Absorption, Product Innovation, and Process Innovation. After analyzing the pillars, we conducted a k-means cluster analysis in order to demonstrate whether countries with the same level of development are ranked in a common group if they are clustered by the values of the three innovation pillars. Our results suggest that the quality of the entrepreneurial ecosystem reflects the level of economic development. Regarding the role of innovation, it seems that the innovation-related pillars have an important role within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Technology Absorption is highly related to the GEI score and the level of economic development since the most developed countries have the highest values for this pillar. While the Product and Process Innovation pillars have a relatively strong relationship with GEI score as well, it seems that a couple of countries have higher pillar values in these innovation-related pillars than the position of their GEI scores would lead one to expect. This may indicate that these countries have relatively good performance in research and development, but other components of their entrepreneurial ecosystem may hamper the exploitation of the results achieved by new firms. Developing Local Entrepreneurship Ecosystems by Foreign Investment The importance of foreign direct investment in transition economies has significantly increased over the last several decades. Foreign investors are recognized as important drivers shaping the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. This paper aims to explore investors’ satisfaction with the factors previously identified as important for improving entrepreneurial ecosystems, that is, factors that both positively contribute to the development of local businesses as well as generate further foreign investment flow. Empirically we draw upon small case studies with managers of 38-42 key foreign investor companies in Latvia conducted in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. In the first data collection wave, we identify key challenges that foreign investors face in Latvia. In the following data collection waves, we measure the development in the identified areas of concern and thus the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem of Latvia. Given that Latvia is a transition country in the advanced stage of development, the focus is on issues related to productivity and value added, including the availability of high quality labor force, the efficiency of public sector, and favorable tax regimes as well as challenges posed by unethical and illegal behavior, labor shortages, and elements of uncertainty. Our results suggest that foreign investors see a number of challenges within the all afore-mentioned areas that are important parts of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Moreover, our findings suggest that progress with regards to the improvement of certain areas such as those mentioned previously from the viewpoint of foreign investors, was relatively slow during the period of 2015-2018. Our key contribution is providing with an in- depth analysis of factors shaping the entrepreneurial ecosystem in an advanced transition economy-from the viewpoint of foreign direct investors. We explore investors’ opinions with regard to the investment climate to summarize investors’ suggestions on how the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Latvia could be further developed. Our findings provide a scope for tailor-made, targeted policy recommendations to achieve these goals. Historical and Institutional Determinants of Universities’ Role in Fostering Entrepreneurship Institutions play a key role in building entrepreneurial ecosystems (EEs). However, the academic literature does not well represent the historical roots of these institutions and most works are devoted to developed countries. This article examines the institutional conditions for the development of scientific and entrepreneurial activities at universities in the context of the transition to a market economy. It considers the «path dependence» (mentality and infrastructure inherited from the past), as well as specific mechanisms for regulating the interaction of universities and other subjects of EE developed during the transition period. Such an approach allows us to assess the potential of universities for the development of entrepreneurship in countries with a transition economy and the impact of historical development paths upon the current structural conditions and the specific features of the EE. Fostering of Entrepreneurship Competencies and Entrepreneurial Intentions in a Weak Ecosystem This exploratory study conducted in the transitional context of Ukraine explores whether students drawn from a supportive entrepreneurship education (EE) reported higher intensity of entrepreneurial intention (IOEI) than students that did not participate in EE.  Further, this study explores what specific competencies honed within a supportive EE are associated with students reporting high IOEI. Guided by competency theory, two hypotheses were tested with regard to a representative sample of 125 business EE students, and a further 64 engineering students that had never participated in EE.  EE students drawn from a supportive educational entrepreneurial ecosystem were found to be associated with significantly higher IOEI.  With regard to 13 competencies honed by EE, it was found that only three competencies (the ability to identify high quality opportunities, computer literacy, and networking) were significantly albeit to a weak degree associated with higher IOEI.  Additional studies are warranted in several former Soviet Union contexts to provide a rigorous evidence base to guide resource allocation decisions of the government with regard to supporting EE and entrepreneurial ecosystems.  This exploratory study relating to the sample of students in one entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Ukraine does not provide conclusive evidence for the government to more proactively support the educational entrepreneurial ecosystem with regard to its current content and delivery. Structure, Challenges and Opportunities for Development of Entrepreneurial Education in Russian Universities This study explores the creation and development of entrepreneurial education tracks in the formation of a University Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (UEE) in certain Russian universities. In particular, the ways in which these tracks promote new venture launches, the commercialization of technologies, and the development of entrepreneurial mindsets and skillsets will be explored.A panel of 21 Russian Universities was used to verify the integrated UEE model using the method of co-operative inquiry. The role of entrepreneurial courses in UEEs is illustrated herein with the use of 4 cases of Russian universities.Among the key findings of this research is that the implementation of entrepreneurship education courses configures the UEE development model centered around the education course. UEE formation begins with the personal development of individuals as the course ingrains an entrepreneurial mindset and related skills in students, and attracts entrepreneurs and business angels for mentoring roles and project development activities. Next, supporting institutions like incubators and accelerators are established from scratch, or existing ones are engaged to assist further student project development. As a result, emerging elements of UEE are actively engaged around the development of student startups.Further case analysis suggests that the professors’ academic background and entrepreneurial experience, as well as the course format (e.g. elective or compulsory) are not a necessary prerequisite for the successful initiation and development of UEE, provided the course is project based and generates a stream of student startups. Professors’ skills are complemented through the ecosystem, and some cases describe successful course launches by other ecosystem actors. It is also apparent that many universities pursue entrepreneurship education through sporadic infrastructure development, or through a more detached entrepreneurship course implementation.