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The term entrepreneurship (Engl. Entrepreneurship , from French. Entreprendre , dt. Company), also entrepreneurship , Gründertum , start-up scene or start-up culture , deals as economics sub-discipline with the start-up activities or the creation of new organizations in response to identified opportunities and as an expression of specific Founding personalities who bear a personal capital risk. Entrepreneur was actually a French term for a military leader since the 16th century. In the 18th century, BF de Belister was the first to name a person who sells goods at the contracted price and tries to buy them as cheaply as possible (so-called arbitrage , in other words a risk-free business in contrast to later definitions).

The classic definitions of the entrepreneur emphasize its macroeconomic renewal function. In modern entrepreneurship literature, there are numerous, sometimes broader definitions. Entrepreneurship is more than setting up a company and using resources efficiently. It includes creative elements such as the systematic identification of (market) opportunities, the finding of new (business) ideas and their implementation in the form of new business models and is not necessarily linked to the owner function. This means that entrepreneurship can also be practiced within existing companies by non-owners ( intrapreneurship ).

The German term “entrepreneurship” also denotes the entirety of the entrepreneurs in a country or the social class of entrepreneurs (e.g. the “Austrian entrepreneurship”), whereby the demarcation to small entrepreneurship is blurred. To identify the characteristics of innovative, personally risk-bearing founders, the term entrepreneur is mostly used in German today. On the other hand, a founder without innovative business ideas, without his own employees and without growth potential, unlike an entrepreneur, is often referred to as a business founder . A start-up is an early and time-limited development phase of an innovative company that claims to present a scalable business model, i.e. to grow to a greater extent.

A holistic regional start-up ecosystem and a start-up-friendly climate ( see section ) are decisive for the success of founders and young entrepreneurs . For the activities of state and private start-up training and start-up support in an international comparison, see the articles Start-up training and start-up support and start-up center .

Attempts at definition

There is no common definition of the terms entrepreneurship or entrepreneurship. In scientific papers, the consideration of the entrepreneurial function in the macroeconomic context predominates. However, there are no generally recognized models or uniform theories of the function of the entrepreneur. In addition to the process-oriented approach of start-up management that is prevalent today, which is well suited to modeling start-up activity, there are personality-theoretical, institutional, industrial, organizational and other theoretical approaches to explain the start-up of a company and its factors for success or failure.

Functional definition of the entrepreneur

The microeconomic analysis of the entrepreneurship phenomenon goes back to the work of Richard Cantillon and Adam Smith in the 18th century. For Cantillon, all workers who worked under uncertainty, including those who depended on the favor of princes or farmers who were dependent on the weather, were entrepreneurs. The physiocrat François Quesnay used the term only for peasants. For Adam Smith the entrepreneur was the central figure who balances supply and demand, for Jean Baptiste Say someone who combined the factors of production. In the 19th and up to the beginning of the 20th century - with the development of the large corporations - the macroeconomic and social role of the entrepreneur was increasingly neglected, apart from Joseph Schumpeter and a few others. It was not until the 1980s that the topic of entrepreneurship experienced a renaissance and theoretical deepening.

Our understanding today is largely shaped by the works of economists of the Austrian school , especially the work of Joseph Schumpeter, Carl Menger , Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek . For Schumpeter (1934) an entrepreneur is a person who is ready and able to turn new ideas or inventions into successful innovations . The entrepreneur is the cause of changes that lead away from the old equilibrium . He is not primarily an inventor, but an innovator, who takes up and asserts new ideas, creatively combines material and immaterial “productive forces” and thus displaces, destroys and creates new structures. This “creative destruction” of old structures - an essentially discontinuous process - is responsible for industrial dynamism and long-term economic growth. Since the new combinations initially appear alongside the old ones, the entrepreneur can only rarely recombine the old production factors that are only slowly becoming available, i. H. these become superfluous.

Compared to Schumpeter's contribution from the 20th century, traditional microeconomics leaves little room for entrepreneurship in its theoretical framework. Instead, it assumes that resources find each other through the price system; The entrepreneur therefore does not play an active role, nor does he produce an imbalance. As an arbitrageur , he buys goods cheaply and sells them with low risk at a higher price, taking advantage of market imbalances but tending to help offset them.

From an economic perspective, interest - especially since David Birch's provocative book The Job Generation Process , in which he showed that the "creative destruction process" led to above-average job growth - the start -up dynamics and the necessary framework conditions as well as the resulting growth and labor market effects. On the other hand, business research focused on differences in leadership and investment behavior between entrepreneurs and employed managers, e. B. in the management of resources and decision-making as well as the success and risk factors of start-ups.

Increasing role differentiation: entrepreneur, entrepreneur, manager

Since Schumpeter's work, the roles, competencies and logic of action of the entrepreneur and the manager have been increasingly separated from one another, which is due to the different nature of their involvement.

Today the role of the owner is also more clearly distinguished from that of the entrepreneur. The latter term usually describes the innovative company founder who bears personal risk and does not necessarily have to have extensive capital resources of his own. The concept of entrepreneurship, on the other hand, is more associated with the idea of ​​having access to extensive resources.

An expanded differentiation of roles based on the two most important criteria in relation to entrepreneurship makes it possible to differentiate into four groups. The criteria of entrepreneurial skills and entrepreneurial risk are represented in a two-dimensional coordinate structure.

Entrepreneur and intrapreneur

The entrepreneur can also be distinguished from the intrapreneur . Pinchot (1985) coined the term intrapreneurship to describe entrepreneurial activities within an organization or an organizational area that are led in an innovative and competitive manner by a salaried manager similar to an entrepreneur. Unlike the entrepreneur, however, he bears a lower personal risk, as he is not liable with private assets and has no property rights in the company. Corporate entrepreneurship means the promotion of start-ups and entrepreneurial behavior of management and employees by established companies in order to be able to assert themselves in innovative fields.

The need to differentiate the terms between owner and entrepreneur is also a consequence of the market entry threshold for start-ups, which has fallen since the 1980s and 1990s, which is due to the flexibility and miniaturization potential of microelectronics, the separation of company-related services and growing outsourcing opportunities. As a result of this development, the entrepreneur can creatively use and combine resources and services available on the market, even with low equity, and reduce his fixed costs.

While in resource-based economies the role of the entrepreneur due to the general scarcity of goods is often limited to that of an arbitrageur who buys and sells cheaply, and in productivity-oriented economies the Schumpeterian model of the entrepreneur comes into play, in knowledge-based economies the creative ideas play a role in the Recombination of circumstances plays an important role. However, in all forms of business there are also forms of entrepreneurship that focus on the use of free resources in niches.

Decisions under uncertainty

For Richard E. Kihlstrom and Jean-Jacques Laffont (1979) and for Peter Drucker (1970, 1985) entrepreneurship means taking risks. Entrepreneurial behavior shows a person who is willing to put their career and financial security at risk for their idea and to invest a lot of time and capital for or in the idea. However, the risks of new factor combinations or the entry into new markets can rarely be calculated. Entrepreneurs also rarely have experience data in the form of long-term time series. They often don't have to make parametric decisions (e.g. can I trust my first major customer?). According to Frank H. Knight (1921, 1967), the entrepreneur often has to make decisions under uncertainty , which, unlike risk, cannot be quantified; but it also creates insecurity for others. If the economic mainstream leaves no more room for new entrepreneurs, z. If, for example, common transport routes are blocked, the new companies entering the market have to resort to riskier strategies. This repeatedly creates competitive advantages that are not offset by the competition. For Knight, however, the entrepreneur is not necessarily particularly risk-conscious.

For Mark Casson, the entrepreneur is not only a manager and coordinator of scarce resources (1982), but above all he has to process volatile information (1999). Such a view of the company related to the management of uncertainty, which was established by Knight, has come to the fore again since around 2000.

Use of opportunities regardless of currently available resources

Other competencies of the entrepreneur become visible when one examines the entrepreneurial process of discovering, evaluating and exploiting opportunities that are concretized in the form of business start-ups. Israel M. Kirzner (1973) emphasizes that in extreme cases the entrepreneur does not have to bring any of his own resources with him, but only has to discover and develop idle free resources (example: renting out the roof terrace of a high-rise building as a viewing platform). The key term in this context is alertness (resourcefulness, attention ), i.e. a cognitive ability that plays a central role in uncovering opportunities. Unlike the Schumpeter entrepreneur, the Kirzner entrepreneur contributes to economic equilibrium by employing idle or underemployed production factors. Günter Faltin argues similarly , for whom the main activity of the entrepreneur consists in the composition of resources available on the market. Howard H. Stevenson , Michael J. Roberts, and Harold Irving Grousbeck develop Kirzner's approach further when they define entrepreneurship as pursuing an opportunity without worrying about current skills and resources. In all of the more recent definitions of entrepreneurship, the control of resources (and even more so the ownership of resources) takes a back seat. Howard H. Stevenson's classic definition of the entrepreneur is: "Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled" (in another version: "[...] beyond the resources you currently control").

Opportunity detection or opportunity recognition is therefore just as much an entrepreneurial core competence as the ability to compose complex business models and innovations from components and services available on the market without having to tie up large resources. The Internet plays a major role in this today. But the process of creative resource combination, which leads to innovative problem solving and thus to the establishment and growth of new companies, remains largely a black box mechanism that is only gradually illuminated by qualitative studies.

Innovations that come about in this way, unlike Schumpeter's innovations, are not necessarily destructive; they promote equilibrium in the market because they bring idle or underemployed factors of production into the economic cycle. In recent years, under the influence of the internet economy, which allows the integration of external resources and therefore helps to reduce fixed costs, business model innovation has come to the fore, while the importance of product and process innovation in start-up activities has decreased.

Recent entrepreneurship research

Entrepreneurship research has been intensified considerably since the early 1980s. Indicators are a large number of publications on entrepreneurship topics as well as a steadily increasing number of entrepreneurship chairs and professorships at universities and technical colleges that are dedicated to entrepreneurship research and entrepreneurship training. Entrepreneurship became an important theoretical research subject after it was recognized that the theory of the company was closely linked to the concept of entrepreneurship since its first approaches in the 18th century and that its starting point lies in the person of the entrepreneur, his synthesizing skills and individual resources (e. B. special dexterity, ability to make judgments, informational advantage) until this connection dissolved in the 19th century with the emergence of corporations. The theoretical goal of entrepreneurship research today is often to restore this connection - e.g. B. on the basis of a transaction-cost and resource-based approach as with Mark Casson , who tries to integrate the approaches of Schumpeter, Hayek and Knight - the practical goal is the intensification, qualitative improvement and support of the start-up activity in different contexts ( economic development , labor market policy , innovation policy, etc. .).

In recent times, entrepreneurship research has also been segmented into various sub-disciplines. Let u. a. Social and sustainable entrepreneurship (social or sustainable entrepreneurship), corporate entrepreneurship (entrepreneurial behavior of the entire organization), intrapreneurship (entrepreneurial behavior in established organizations), e-entrepreneurship (founding, financing and developing young companies in the net economy), minority (or Ethnical) Entrepreneurship (start-up behavior of ethnic minorities), Regional Entrepreneurship (start-up studies with a regional reference) and Gender Entrepreneurship (entrepreneurship studies with a gender reference).

Up until the early 1980s, for example, studies on entrepreneurship dealt almost exclusively with the male entrepreneur; Little was known about women entrepreneurs until then. In the 1990s, economic statistics show that female entrepreneurship increased significantly in most developed countries.

A. Shapero and L. Sokol dealt in the concept of so-called event-based entrepreneurship with the life-changing events and cuts that - if a positive assessment of self-employment and its feasibility as well as a high personal willingness to act - induce business start-ups. This research strand is z. B. resumed in studies on the relationship between emergency and opportunity start-ups. “Internationally, frustration is the main motive for founding a company,” says Wirtschaftswoche, summarizing a study by DIW . Shapero also points out the great influence of the cultural environment on the willingness to start a business.

In connection with the digitization of products, services and business processes, concepts became more important that investigated how the procurement of the know-how, capital and knowledge necessary for a foundation and for the growth of start-ups is increasingly shifted to networks and cooperations ( see e.g. Lean Management , Dynamic Capabilities ). In contrast, resource-oriented theories of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship have become the focus of research in recent years, which assume that the entrepreneurial process does not start from the determination of goals and positioning on the market, but with a tentative learning process in which it is explored how one's own available ones are Resources can be used optimally to realize market opportunities. This includes u. a. the concept of effectuation of Saras Sarasvathy , which of course does not exclude that shared resources have an important function for the entrepreneurialen process. Improvisation also plays a bigger role in this context than, for example, linear planning, the importance of which was overestimated until the 1990s.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Consortium , founded in 1999, reports annually on the development of entrepreneurship in selected countries (2010: 59 countries).

Entrepreneurial action

From the point of view of most theorists, entrepreneurial activity consists of the following four components, which are of course weighted differently:

  • Discovering opportunities : An entrepreneur must be able to generate, evaluate and select systematic business ideas, as well as seize and implement personal opportunities
  • Implementation of innovations : New business ideas have to be developed, implemented in models and prototypes and finally marketed. This also applies to processes, services and, more recently - especially with the spread of the internet economy - also to complete business models .
  • Development and use of resources : The entrepreneur must be able to identify, develop, combine and use resources that are important to him. In doing so, he can increasingly rely on existing resources that can be used on a case-by-case basis.
  • Carrying risks : The entrepreneur must be ready to assess the risks for his entrepreneurial activity and, if necessary, to take them on.

This also includes keeping an existing company alive, responding to crises, changes - e.g. B. to react based on your own innovations - and competitors, to observe the environment, to judge foreign business ideas, models and processes, these etc. U. to take over in an adapted form. Of course, entrepreneurial activity also means recognizing your own undesirable developments as early as possible and correcting or ending them.

Today there is a demand that taking responsibility and striving for sustainability should be part of entrepreneurial activity, both towards society (with regard to the environment, legal requirements, side effects on the social and economic environment) and towards employees. Personalities who represent entrepreneurship in this sense are able to build companies sustainably in three senses: economic, ecological, social.

These and other action competencies stated in the literature rarely meet optimally in one person. In different phases of the innovation process or the company life cycle, therefore, very different skills often come into play. High willingness to take risks e.g. B. is conducive to founding a company, low to medium-sized tend to ensure the maintenance of the company over a longer period of time. Team formation is therefore increasingly coming to the fore in the analysis. Too much emphasis on the business routine of efficient resource management can also inhibit creativity and innovation and block the view of market opportunities. In contrast, it is emphasized that entrepreneurial creativity can at least partially be learned.

Personality traits and attitudes of entrepreneurs

Specific personality traits, behaviors and attitudes are also seen as a prerequisite for successful entrepreneurship. In the literature are mentioned u. a.

  • Achievement motivation : The entrepreneur's vision is the driving force behind a company. The entrepreneur must be ready to tackle tasks and have the desire to demonstrate their own skills. High performance motivation is a necessary quality of entrepreneurial activity (especially David McClelland ).
  • Initiative and striving for independence : The entrepreneur must develop strategies with perseverance and determination in order to realize his vision himself. He strives for independence and independence and trusts in his own abilities.
  • Realism and the ability to work together : The entrepreneur must know his limits exactly and be able to identify or even develop potential partners. In particular, he should know his environment exactly in order to avoid redundant developments.
  • Creativity : An entrepreneur should be a creatively thinking and decisive person who is associative in his ideas and lively in his imagination.
  • Perseverance : A high level of creativity can lead to necessary routines not being kept and strategies being changed too often or broken off too early before their success or failure is clearly apparent.
  • Willingness to take risks : Entrepreneurial tasks offer opportunities and risks. The entrepreneur must weigh these up and take an assessable risk. He evaluates costs, market and customer needs. The entrepreneur is responsible for making his idea a success.
  • Emotional stability, assertiveness, empathy : an entrepreneur must be able to process failures quickly and keep a clear head in critical situations. He must also be cooperative and have empathy in order to get to grips with e.g. B. To be able to empathize with team members, investors or customers and to achieve something in cooperation with them.
  • Problem-solving skills : Many entrepreneurship tasks are not routine tasks. An entrepreneur must be able to operate in an unfamiliar field and find ways to remain capable of acting.
  • Ambiguity tolerance , ability to deal with uncertainty: The entrepreneur must be able to deal with great informational uncertainty, even with uncertainty that can no longer be grasped statistically (so-called Knight's uncertainty) and vaguely defined situations (first HP Knight 1921, Peter Drucker 1970)
  • Entrepreneurial self-efficacy expectation : the expectation that one has a decisive influence on the success of one's plans through one's own actions - in this case the start-up project - and is not dependent on third parties.
  • Resilience

However, these and other core forces for a successful business start-up described in the literature are seldom concentrated in one person. In addition, attitudes and skills that favor a business start-up are not always suitable for ensuring their profitability and sustainability. This applies e.g. B. for a high willingness to take risks, which increases the willingness to start a business, but does not necessarily support long-term success, or for a high level of creativity, which can hinder the successful multiple repetition of a business model through routine development ( repeatability ). Different attitudes and skills are therefore required in different ways in different phases of the company life cycle. More often too speculative and creative minds were warned about business building: Michel de Montaigne already pointed out that “in trade and commerce, the common and less astute minds prove to be more suitable and more successful” than people who follow the “detached teachings of philosophy seek to follow [...] An all too alert and agitated, all too restless mind hinders the course of our business, “which requires a certain dullness to cope with.

Many authors deny that personality factors even play a demonstrable role in practice. Both surveys and statistical evaluations show, according to Ross Levine and Rona Rubenstein from the University of California at Berkeley, that the decisive contribution for successful company founders in the USA lies in the previously existing access to capital. Successful entrepreneurs come from families with money. Those whose livelihoods are secured even in the event of failure can afford to take risks, and if their basic needs are met, creativity can be more easily developed. In particular, the willingness to take risks is not a static personality factor, but a result of conditioning by the environment. However, these findings were determined by observing speculative behavior on the stock exchange. It was not taken into account that there can be environmentally-related incorrect conditioning in the direction of excessive risk-taking.

Founder Ecosystem

International founding team in Berlin , 2009

According to RKW, a "fruitful regional start -up ecosystem " and a start-up-friendly climate are decisive for the success of founders and young entrepreneurs as a whole , which is achieved through the interplay of talent, successful entrepreneurs, financing options, educational institutions , low- bureaucratic politics and administration, potential customers, efficient infrastructure ( especially digital and public ), the openness for innovation, creativity and a high quality of life arise. With good coordination, this can also be done outside of large cities, for example with proactive , high -quality regional management and by networking regional start-up initiatives.

Identifying the specific milieus that feeds entrepreneurship leads to complex results. Such a milieu (in Anglo-Saxon literature often referred to as the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem ) consists of factors ("resources") in the entrepreneur's environment that favor or hinder the entrepreneur's decision to found a company, his entrepreneurial activities and his success. These resources include supporting people and financial institutions (e.g. investors), educational and advisory organizations and programs (universities, technology parks), infrastructures, institutions (law, state regulation) and cultural framework conditions (“soft” factors such as prejudices, general Risk taking etc.). Such milieus or ecosystems do not have to be spatially fixed. The app developer environment also represents an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

For the USA, Saxenian describes two very different milieus, Silicon Valley and Route 128 around Cambridge and Boston , as conducive to start-ups . One, extremely egalitarian, is characterized by an accumulation of risk-ready young companies in garages , by attractive role models with a special lifestyle and high informality of cooperation, the second by an academic, more conservative-hierarchical, state-sponsored start-up and research culture with at least more as a 150-year tradition. The east coast model with its lower interaction density and its less stimulating lifestyle did not, of course, shape such attractive entrepreneurial role models as was the case on the US west coast with its creative bohemian ( Richard Florida ). Another rapidly growing entrepreneurial milieu in the USA is the Seattle agglomeration .

The economist Henry Rowen works out the uniqueness of local factor constellations: At the time the technology cluster was formed in Silicon Valley, such a network structure could not have developed anywhere else than in the USA. There was a coherent system of favorable regulatory conditions, low taxes and start-up costs, a lack of protectionism, freedom of research, liberal balance sheet and insolvency law provisions in connection with immigration rules, which had existed since the Immigration Act of 1965 (so-called Hart-Celler Act ) benefited by the highly qualified. This system can hardly be copied in Europe and explains the long-term competitive advantage of the USA in the IT sector. In 1990 about a third of the scientists and engineers in Silicon Valley came from Asia, mainly from China, India and Vietnam; the proportion has risen sharply until today.

Dan Senor and Paul Singer also describe the fundamentals of the Israeli “economic miracle” since the second half of the 1990s as a result of a specific mix of good education, culture, state technology funding, neoliberal deregulation policy and forced isolation or pressure from the environment. They also count natural resource poverty, military service and Jewish-Russian immigration among the factors that promote start-ups. In view of the great importance of government funding and financing as well as capital imports from the USA and the relatively short success story to date, it is not yet clear whether one can speak of a permanent entrepreneurial milieu here . Something similar may apply to the new founders “cultures” with intensive participation by state funds such as in Dubai , Singapore , Malaysia and other countries. It is also noticeable that Chinese regions cannot be found at all among the rapidly growing start-up ecosystems.

In Germany, only Berlin can compete with the world's leaders. Real estate and neighborhood-related factors play a major role here (low rents, architecture, lifestyle). In Europe, London is among the leaders in terms of international innovative entrepreneurship.

The Free State of Bavaria opened the Einstein 1 digital start-up center in Hof (Saale) . The focus of the house is entrepreneurship.

Related to the concept of the entrepreneurial milieu are that of the creative milieu , which was shaped by the so-called GREMI group (“Groupe de Recherche Européen sur les Milieux Innovateurs”), and the concept of the creative, coined by Richard Florida, but often criticized Class .

Special forms of entrepreneurship

Special forms of entrepreneurship are:

Youth Entrepreneurship

Youth entrepreneurship is the promotion of start-up ideas and entrepreneurial activities by young people (usually defined by the age group from 14 to 24 years) in the context of schools, training institutions, universities, practice firms or in real companies run by them. In a playful form, this training can sometimes start from preschool age (e.g. in some emerging countries). Youth entrepreneurship is also increasingly playing a role in the context of empowerment strategies for disadvantaged young people or neighborhoods. There are indications in the USA that the free choice of schools and school types promotes the development of entrepreneurial activities.

Such activities are still relatively underdeveloped in the EU countries. They are rarely characterized by particular sustainability. The cross-regional project YES (Youth Entrepreneurship Strategies) under the leadership of the Östergötland County Administrative Board tries to have a unifying influence on the school curricula in eight countries. Further training and curricular standardization activities are promoted by the certification industry. In Austria, on the initiative of the Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur's (Entrepreneur's Skills Certificate) offered as a voluntary additional qualification from the eighth grade in conjunction with teacher seminars. The model was recognized in 2006 by the European Commission and in 2011 by the umbrella organization of the European Economic Chambers, Eurochambres, as a best practice example for entrepreneurship education and has been carried over to several European and African countries. In the 2011/12 school year, more than 200 Austrian schools offered the entrepreneur driving license; almost 29,000 students have taken the exams so far.

Nevertheless, at the same time as the rise in youth unemployment during the 2009–2012 crisis, the opportunities for young people to start a business deteriorated; This target group therefore became the focus of political endeavors.

Ethnic economy ("migrant economy")

In Germany, ethnic or migrant economics (in a distancing third-party definition) mean the independent economic activity of people regardless of their nationality and place of birth, insofar as they have ethnic and cultural characteristics that can be distinguished from entrepreneurs from the majority society.

The importance of immigrants as company founders for economic dynamism and revitalization has been increasingly recognized in many countries and regions since around 2000. This was not always the case, as migrants were often viewed as troublesome competitors to the local economy. However, in the past Jews, Armenians, Lebanese and many other people who were forced to emigrate from their homeland managed to occupy important niche positions in the economies of the host countries. Sometimes also to get out of the niche and set up important companies.

In Germany, the number of self-employed people with a migration background is estimated at 500,000 to 700,000 (although there are considerable problems with the conceptual delimitation and statistical measurability). Nevertheless, the self-employment quota of migrants at 10 percent is still slightly below that of the German majority population of over 11 percent. However, the quantitative growth of the self-employed in the migrant economy was 16.4 percent in 2005 and 2009, while the number of German self-employed rose by only 1.1 percent in the same period.

Immigrants from Turkey and Poland, in particular, play an important role in the start-up activity of the big cities. 16 percent of the founders come from Turkey, 35 percent from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. 52 of the migrant start-ups are full-time employees (43 percent for Germans). 27 percent of migrant founders come from unemployment (19 percent of Germans). 34 percent of migrant start-ups (41 percent of Germans) are women. 51 percent of the migrant founders (29 percent of the German founders) take on employees when they are founded. In Stuttgart, for example, the proportion of migrant entrepreneurs is around 30 percent of all entrepreneurs.

In addition to the potential of migrant entrepreneurs (e.g. through the possibility of raising capital in the family), deficits are also evident (e.g. due to the - currently decreasing - concentration on a few and narrow business areas, e.g. in the catering trade, due to poor accessibility the advice offers or the lack of such offers). In many larger municipalities, this results in an important new field of urban policy intervention.

Migrant companies, also included under the terms migration economics, migrant business or ethnic entrepreneurship, are increasingly attracting research interest. One of the explanatory approaches used for these phenomena is the model of mixed embeddedness (multiple embedding). (See also section “Migrants as entrepreneurs in an international comparison” ).

Nascent Entrepreneurs

Nascent Entrepreneurs have taken the first steps (e.g. applying for a loan) to implement the founding idea. In contrast to the founder, Nascent entrepreneurs are in the founding process. The establishment is considered complete as soon as Nascent Entrepreneurs achieve positive cash flow for more than three months and / or pay a salary. The term was coined by the Entrepreneurial Research Consortium (ERC), which initiated the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics (PSED) in the USA from 1998 .


This includes both serial entrepreneurs who work on different start-up projects one after the other and parallel entrepreneurs who run several start- up projects at the same time. If a person sets up multiple start-ups over a longer period of time, one also speaks of habitual entrepreneurship .

"Pirates" as entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs as "pirates"

Current research emphasizes apparent similarities between the concepts of "entrepreneur" and "pirate". In this context, piracy is discussed as a strategic source of inspiration for entrepreneurship training as well as for research on entrepreneurship and business model innovation. The concept of guerrilla marketing goes in a similar direction , in which surprise effects can be achieved with limited resources and unconventional methods, which are often used on the edge of legality. The image of the entrepreneur as a pirate also has its origin in the continuous deregulation of entrepreneurial activities over the past decades.

Social assessment: “Unproductive”, “destructive”, “parasitic” entrepreneurship

The question of whether and how much entrepreneurship is necessary and desirable in a society is rarely discussed in the literature. The more an economic system is shaped by uncertain knowledge, the fewer alternatives to entrepreneurial decisions seem to exist, but the more a society tends to avoid uncertainty, the more critically and risky it evaluates (small) entrepreneurship.

One speaks of unproductive entrepreneurship when entrepreneurs permanently generate less income than they consume in terms of public resources or free goods or receive subsidies. We speak of destructive or parasitic entrepreneurship when it generates negative external effects on a large scale without there being any specific social justification for it. This often increases the total social income in the short term, but there is no business and / or economic sustainability. William J. Baumol cites the American legal profession, some of which earn more than its corporate clients , as an example of unproductive entrepreneurship, and corruption in China, which devours a considerable portion of the national product, as an example of destructive entrepreneurship.

Above all, assistantism with its generous transfer payments in regions without the tradition of independent responsible entrepreneurship such as B. in southern Italy encourages the emergence of unproductive and parasitic entrepreneurship in form

  • a “political entrepreneurship” that is protected more by protection than by its own competitiveness;
  • a little productive micro-entrepreneurship that lives on regional, national or EU subsidies and operates on the edge of the shadow economy;
  • of criminal entrepreneurship that corrupts politics and administration, controls the public allocation of resources and also infiltrates the legal economy.

In developing countries in particular, a high number of start-ups cannot be assessed as positive per se from a macroeconomic perspective. Rather, the decisive factor is the quality of the foundations. Startups can have positive external effects if they are innovative and growth-oriented. Development funding for start-ups is mainly geared towards the poor and the poorest target groups. These startups are rarely innovative and growth-oriented. When such companies with a traditional business idea enter saturated markets, they may crowd out other market participants or lower the incomes of all market participants.

Empirically, however, the distinction between unproductive and destructive entrepreneurship is difficult. Examples of the difficulties of demarcation are the unstable emergency start-ups with the help of unemployment benefit II or the excessive consumption of free goods such as water or subsidized public services. The damage to consumers and other clients through the exploitation of addiction, dependence or ignorance through drug trafficking, gambling, non-revisable contracts on the Internet or the placing on the market of harmful products, through the exploitation of emergency situations for the purpose of arbitrage without any risk or through unjustified monopolies or corruption are clearly destructive . Small companies operate more often than large companies in the context of the shadow economy. This applies in particular to so-called “ethnic companies”, which, however, also help to prevent extreme poverty and social exclusion.

In a certain sense susceptible to parasitic entrepreneurship is the Kirzner entrepreneur who is always looking for free resources. The multiple of what z. For example, if a bottle collector creates additional income, it can be destroyed by a scrap dealer who concentrates on recycling fewer materials and disposes of residual materials in an unregulated manner. In Africa, when bast baskets are woven over stolen copper wire and sold to tourists, the proceeds from the baskets are only a fraction of the value of the stolen wire, not to mention the damage to the telecommunications infrastructure.

The concept of destructive or unproductive entrepreneurship does not necessarily imply a moral valuation. Rather, it is intended to make it clear that the type and / or scope of business start-ups (sometimes forced by necessity) can have a negative impact on sustainability and reduce national income beyond an optimum point of welfare theory that cannot be precisely determined . For a start-up promotion policy, this does not mean a moral condemnation e.g. B. the shadow economy , but the creation of incentives to transform unproductive or destructive companies into productive entrepreneurship.

Start-up activities in international comparison

An important source of business start-ups in international comparison is the annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor ( GEM ) of the GEM Consortium founded in 1999. In 2009 a study was carried out in 43 countries over 100,000 interviews. In Germany, almost 5,000 people were asked whether they were in the process of setting up a company or whether they had started it recently. As in previous studies, it was found that the number of people starting up in business in Germany is very low in an international comparison. Only 1.4 percent of 18 to 64 year olds are about to start a company. This puts Germany in 15th place within 20 comparably highly developed countries (among the so-called “innovation-based economies”). Japan and Belgium bring up the rear in this group. In contrast, the United Arab Emirates, Iceland and u. a. the USA. Experts rate the training required for founding a business, as well as the academic start-up training, to be particularly low.

International comparative research and academic exchange on entrepreneurship issues is also carried out within the framework of the International Council of Small Business and Entrepreneurship ( ICSB ) and its European branch, the European Council of Small Business and Entrepreneurship ( ECSB ).

Comparative studies by the OECD

As part of the Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) program, the Center for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development of the OECD finances studies, workshops, the exchange of experience between projects and international comparative studies on the local development of entrepreneurship with a focus on employment and urban renewal. The OECD regularly publishes examples of the good practice it has identified, role models and learning models for entrepreneurship. The 2011–2012 work program also focuses on social entrepreneurship .

A critical objection is that the assessment of the status of national start-up and training activities by the OECD is often based on dubious indicators (e.g. average processing time of a business registration in days). Such an indicator is more indicative of the pace of the establishment of branches by foreign investors than of the difficulties encountered by local small-scale entrepreneurs who fail due to lack of capital or corrupt authorities.

Comparative studies by the World Bank

The World Bank has been conducting international comparative benchmarks on the subject of entrepreneurship on a regular basis since 2006 . In doing so, the focus of its assessment is on the dismantling of regulation and the reduction of bureaucracy in start-ups, e.g. B. by electronic business registration. This leads to statements such as: “In the business start-up category, Germany ranks 84th out of 183 nations. Establishing a GmbH takes 18 days in this country, comprises 9 steps and costs 4.7 percent of the per capita income ”, which means that Germany has improved by 17 places compared to the previous year. Training aspects are largely neglected by this perspective, which is primarily that of international investors.

Migrants as entrepreneurs in an international comparison

In all OECD countries, the start-up rate among migrants is at least slightly higher than among the native population. In 2009, every fifth founder in Germany was of foreign origin (around 170,000 of a total of 870,000 founders). The start-up rate among migrants was 1.9% and exceeded that of Germans by 0.3 percentage points. An important support factor is the high degree of networking among immigrants, which makes it easier to raise capital, recruit employees and enter the market. On the other hand, the survival time of migrant companies is often shorter than that of local companies, which speaks in favor of a high proportion of emergency start-ups in view of blocked career paths. Empirical studies in Germany also state that migrants are nowhere near exhausting their start-up potential because they are less likely to start up in key sectors or knowledge-intensive industries. This leads to a loss of prosperity.

For both the Anglo-Saxon and Portuguese-speaking areas, it can be shown that migrants (e.g. Indians and Chinese from Mozambique , Goa , Macau or Hong Kong ) often set up a business in several peripheral countries one after the other and then come back as entrepreneurs return to their place of origin or finally reach the economic and political centers (England or Portugal). Often they are active as innovators.


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See also

Individual evidence

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