Year of grant:
Íverksetanarumhvørvið í minni oyggjasamfeløgum – ein komparativ granskingarverkætlan av íverksetan í fíggjarligum framkomnum oyggjasamfeløgum.
Søgu og Samfelagsdeildin á Fróðskaparsetrinum
Gestur Hovgaard og Godfrey Baldacchino
Grant from the FRC in DKK:
Qualitative entrepreneurship is a vital part of any economy, a fact that is recognized by governments and researchers all over the world. However, various scholars have noted the tendency for public leaders to embrace and acknowledge the importance of entrepreneurship, whereas they are not necessarily familiar with how to actually stimulate it, and when initiatives are carried out they rarely result in the intended effect. The main reason for this is that local circumstances and prerequisites for entrepreneurial activity seldom are considered. In order to better understand processes of entrepreneurship in different settings, attention is therefore increasingly being drawn towards how geographic, economic, social, cultural and institutional elements play together in shaping the varying contexts in which entrepreneurship takes place. What this implies is that a region, or other spatial area, can be investigated in terms of how features of the particular location shape the entrepreneurial environment for the actors within it. Processes of entrepreneurship can therefore be viewed as taking place in a system with geographically bounded characteristics, also by some scholars referred to as a context dependent 'entrepreneurial ecosystem'. This project will during its three years investigate and compare such systems of entrepreneurship in the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Malta. By examining the entrepreneurial environment in these three economically developed island jurisdictions, the project has the overall ambition of adding new knowledge about entrepreneurship in smaller islands. Whereas culture, historical trajectories, location, and other place-specific conditions and aspects of each setting will be paid explicit attention, the project is also carried out with an expectation that many valuable lessons can be learnd and shared between jurisdictions. Previous studies have for instance shown that entrepreneurs in smaller islands are commonly faced by a heap of challenges, irrespective of the island jurisdiction being a developed or a developing economy. These challenges may include a small domestic market, high transportation costs, lack of economies of scale, emigration of business expertise and skilled workers, limited professional collaboration and institutlonal coordination, minor R&D capability and high governmentally induced costs for starting and running a business, as well as scarcity of competitive support, delimited access to capital and relatively few modes of financing. Fortunately enough, it has also been shown that despite the many structural disadvantages and the gravitational pull of large urban areas on talent and other types of capital, many smaller island jurisdictions have managed to nurture exciting entrepreneurial companies. Equally uplifting is that in recent years there is a noted tendency among several smaller island societies to take initiatives related to improving domestic entrepreneurial environments. This is for example observed in terms of entrepreneurship incubation, co-working spaces, advice centers, start-up hubs, entrepreneurship training, public funding, policy framework regulatlons, involvement of schools and universities, and the creation of entrepreneurial competitions and events. These kinds of initlatives, as well as the mentioned challenges, all play a role in influencing the local systems of entrepreneurship. The research undertaken in this project will shed light on how local aspects regarding entrepreneurial culture, societal norms, networks, larger firms, knowledge institutions, policy makers, finance providers, access to markets and customers, human capital, infrastructure and support organizations together shape the environment in which Island entrepreneurs strive towards success. Through the perceptions and perspectives from entrepreneurs themselves, as well as from other actors influencing the entrepreneurial environment, the project will investigate how processes of opportunity-driven entrepreneurship in smaller islands are influenced by the context dependent attributes of the entrepreneurial ecosystems.