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EERN/EEDRP Ecosystem Symposium 2018

Adelaide, Australia | 9-10th July 2018

The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Dynamics Research & Policy (EED R&P) Group and EERN hosted a two related events as part of the South Australia Entrepreneurs Week 2018.

EERN: Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Research, Policy, and Practice (9th July 2018)

EERN organised a prelude to the Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Creating Jobs Symposium with a day of mixed activities to reflect the very nature of entrepreneurial ecosystems and how they operate.

In the spirit of enquiry and knowledge building, the day’s activities commenced at the University of South Australia (UniSA) in the morning with a workshop on the interdisciplinary challenges that entrepreneurial ecosystems research confronts from the perspective of industry, technology, or sectoral drivers.

Following the morning discussion, we joined the Entrepreneurs Week celebrations with lunch before offering participants to join their choice of concurrent afternoon session on a diverse range of topics such as entrepreneurship careers and skills, connectivity in ecosystems, policy discussions, indigenous issues, and agri-food technology advances at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

After the Entrepreneurs Week events, we returned to UniSA for a key note address by Prof Colin Mason, co-author of the 2014 pioneering work prepared for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on ‘Entrepreneurial ecosystems and growth-oriented entrepreneurship’. This was followed by a workshop on building bridges between practice, policy, and research and exploring ways and means of improving the interactions among these three stakeholders. Further speakers included:

To conclude the day, participants were offered drinks and dinner in a relaxed atmosphere in the city among Adelaide’s laneway bar and restaurant culture to share ideas, experiences, insights, and questions.

EEDRP: Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Creating Jobs Symposium (10th July 2018)

This event was organized by the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Dynamics Research & Policy (EED R&P) Group at UniSA and sponsored by the Government of South Australia, Charles Sturt University, The University of Adelaide, University of the Sunshine Coast, and the Australian Centre for Asian Business School of Management.

The idea that entrepreneurship is a driver of economic growth and development has resonated with economists at least since the mid 1700’s. In the late 20th century the focus on entrepreneurship as an employment driver increased with research findings that showed new and young growth oriented firms—typified by such terms as gazelles and unicorns—produce the majority of new employment in an economy.

However, exactly how this comes about is not fully understood. Entrepreneurs do not act in isolation and increasingly the context of entrepreneurs is shown to matter. We know places and entrepreneurs are not all the same, so what explains the variation in entrepreneurial prevalence and persistence? How can the policy and practice of entrepreneurship be enhanced while respecting the unique characteristics, histories and communities of places?

In this symposium ‘Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Creating Jobs’ we examined the issues related to entrepreneurial ecosystems. The objective was to tease apart the tangled threads of an entrepreneurial ecosystem to better understand the job creation story. While companies such as Seek Ltd, Atlassian and, more recently, Airplay Touch make national headlines reaching extraordinary market valuations and collectively contributing hundreds, if not thousands of jobs, how does this help regions that face declining industry sectors, such as manufacturing, losing equally large numbers of jobs? Entrepreneurial ecosystems have local, state, national and even global dimensions and an appreciation of each of these dimensions is an imperative if we are to truly claim that building entrepreneurial ecosystems will have a net positive effect on jobs growth in any specific locality.

The morning of the symposium included leading international academics who are contributing to the global dialogue on entrepreneurial ecosystems. They were joined by local experts who portrayed and discussed the Australian and South Australian challenges and experiences.

This backdrop set the scene for the afternoon interactive workshops where 3-4 challenges were set and all symposium participants engaged in an activity to tease apart the problem and identify potential resolutions. The day was closed out with a sharing of our collective learning and setting the direction for future work and activity.

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