An exploratory conceptual model for digital entrepreneurs within entrepreneurial ecosystems

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Jungcharoensukying, Ekapong
Feller, Joseph
O'Flaherty, Brian
Treacy, Stephen
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Academic Conferences International Limited
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The entrepreneurial ecosystem is a well-known concept in supporting the creation and growth of entrepreneurs, driving the economy in a region. However, entrepreneurship is evolving, as more and more novel digital technologies are introduced into our lives. Accordingly, this paper focuses on digital entrepreneurs, who are defined as the entrepreneurs, who utilize innovation based on digital technology to create economic or social value by starting new ventures or transform existing ones (European Commission, 2015), and the relevant ecosystem that supports them. The change in the relationship between digital entrepreneurs and an entrepreneurial ecosystem, as they evolve towards digital products and customer engagement is the focus of this research. We reviewed the literature on the topic of digital entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ecosystem using a concept-centric matrix, capturing 14 elements of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. These elements include networks, policy and government, professional and support services, capital services, human capital, culture, markets, knowledge sources, intermediaries, informal networks, leadership, physical infrastructure, engagement, and cooperative companies. The identified elements were then used to develop a conceptual framework, which will form the basis for the research strategy. This study sets out to establish the existence of these elements in the ecosystems and the extent of their usefulness. Therefore, this paper seeks to address the research gap of how digital entrepreneurs utilize each ecosystem element to understand their importance in the conceptual framework. We intend to conduct an exploratory quantitative research approach, gathering data from start-up digital entrepreneurs that are engaged in an entrepreneurial ecosystem, by using a data instrument derived from the conceptual framework. Then, we will analyze the data using descriptive and bi-variate statistical tools to uncover causal relations between the elements. The next phase of the research will involve case studies, where we plan to use the updated conceptual framework to undertake in-depth interviews to establish the context of digital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Digital entrepreneur , Entrepreneurial ecosystem , Entrepreneurial process
Jungcharoensukying, E., Feller, J., O'Flaherty, B. and Treacy, S. (2020) 'An exploratory conceptual model for digital entrepreneurs within entrepreneurial ecosystems', European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Rome, Italy, 17-18 September, pp. 789-797. doi: 10.34190/EIE.20.221
© 2020, the Authors. Published by Academic Conferences International Limited. Reproduced with permission of copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.