In many countries young people are receiving stimulus in order to explore and consider entrepreneurial careers. Models proposed by media, formal action in education for entrepreneurship, and global initiatives such as Global Entrepreneurship Week are promoting the idea that young, innovative entrepreneurs can contribute to economic growth and to the social improvement of local areas and nations.
Young people of today are not only entrepreneurs of the future, but in some cases are also real entrepreneurs in action: young and successful entrepreneurs who develop new technologies, adopt new business models and drive the rise of new industrial clusters and industries. Various anecdotic contributions describe the stories of young entrepreneurs, of students who leave academic environments in order to exploit or create entrepreneurial opportunities and build entrepreneurial projects, sometimes with high social impact.
Despite these impressive but fragmented efforts, academic research does not offer clear and comprehensive empirical evidence and theories explaining the specificities of young and innovative entrepreneurship. In fact, academic literature focuses mainly on four themes concerning young entrepreneurs:
- Entrepreneurial intentions among populations of students or young people.
- Policies and initiatives for fostering and stimulating young entrepreneurship.
- Young firms (but young firms are not necessarily run by young people).
- Nascent entrepreneurs (but nascent entrepreneurs are not necessarily young).
We are not only interested in the intentions and potentialities of young non-enterprising people, but through the papers selected for this special issue, we also want to focus our lens on young entrepreneurs in action; on choices, strategies, actions, projects and real processes. We propose, for example, to investigate demographic issues, cultural and geographical contexts, competitive strategies and personal motivations.
We suggest that contributors consider, as an empirical reference, entrepreneurs that are under 35 years old.
Quantitative as well qualitative papers will be considered.
Suitable topics include but are not limited to:
- Young entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship at different ages. The entrepreneurship life cycle. What are the differences between the entrepreneurial behaviours and strategies of young and older entrepreneurs? What are the personal factors or skills needed for student or teenage entrepreneurship? How does creativity or replication influence the plans and strategies of young entrepreneurs? How can they learn from mistakes and failures? What really drives young entrepreneurs? What are their motivations, dreams, perceptions, targets?
- Young entrepreneurship in new industries and technologies. Why and how do some young entrepreneurs exploit technological disruptive opportunities that are not recognised by existing companies or senior entrepreneurs? Are there among young entrepreneurs different paradigms for the management of innovation?
- The specificity and influence of the environment and cultural attitudes in different countries and areas. What are the main external enablers or barriers for young entrepreneurship? How do different cultural or educational contexts influence intentions, strategies, choices and companies run by young entrepreneurs?
- First generation vs. second generation entrepreneurs. The role of family environment. Are there differences between first and second generation entrepreneurs? How can this be explained? Can enterprising members of the family be considered as relevant models? What is their real role and their influence towards prospective or in-action young entrepreneurs?
- The role of institutions for the promotion and support of young entrepreneurship. Associations of young and innovative entrepreneurs. What are the best practices for supporting and promoting young entrepreneurs? How do local, national or global initiatives really impact young and innovative entrepreneurship? Are associations of young entrepreneurs exclusive clubs or can there be proactive and open actors fostering entrepreneurship for young people?
- Financing young enterprises. Specificity of initiatives. Family and friends successfully financing young entrepreneurs. What are the other sources of financing for under-35 entrepreneurs? What are the main challenges that a young entrepreneur must face in order to achieve enough financial resources?
- Intergenerational issues. The relationship between entrepreneurs, managers and collaborators in young enterprises. The dialogue and collaboration between young and old people can sometimes be a source of conflict, or on the other hand a source of positive learning processes. How do young entrepreneurs cooperate with older employees?
- Innovative organisations and new forms of collaboration for innovation and entrepreneurship. Young entrepreneurs are sometimes promoters of new organisational forms that can positively impact the business. How are these forms accepted by employees and collaborators? How and why is innovation of organisations created and introduced by young entrepreneurs?
- Educational agencies (schools and universities) as vehicles of new venture creation. Entrepreneurship education. What are the innovative strategies for teaching entrepreneurship? Have young entrepreneurs in action really been exposed to educational stimulus concerning business administration and entrepreneurship? Is incubation a necessary step for nascent young entrepreneurs?
- Companies with the mission to create new companies. Entrepreneurs that encourage and support new young entrepreneurs. Non-young and senior or serial entrepreneurs can be enablers of young entrepreneurship through incubation, mentoring and stimulation of prospective entrepreneurs. How can existing companies facilitate corporate young entrepreneurs and spinoff creators? What are the new paradigms and strategies of incubation? How can young entrepreneurs take advantage of senior experience? How can alliances or supply agreements be vehicles of support for young entrepreneurs?
Submission deadline: 30 September 2012