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High-tech entrepreneurial ecosystems: using a complex adaptive systems framework

Published Online:pp 615-634

The entrepreneurship ecosystem concept has been examined by various scholars resulting in different definitions and the development of various frameworks. High-tech entrepreneurial ecosystems are special types that are closely linked to innovative, high growth firms. We argue that the logic of interpretation of high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystems is quite different from that of national entrepreneurial ecosystems. The latter are guided by national policies and follow mainly a top down approach. This paper posits that the emergence and development of high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystems follow mainly a bottom up approach. For this reason, we have used a complex adaptive systems framework to interpret high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystems. In addition, we have also examined the network effects in these ecosystems. Reflecting on these effects, we have highlighted the additional roles of agents such as universities and local governments in contributing to the success of high-tech ecosystems. Finally, we have developed propositions that could be transformed into testable hypothesis and suggested further research.


entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial ecosystems, high-tech, complex adaptive systems, CAS