Title: Exploring the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the field of entrepreneurial support: a multi-level approach

Authors: Christina Theodoraki; Karim Messeghem

Addresses: Montpellier Management Institute, University of Montpellier/MRM, Vendémiaire Street, Building D, CS 19519, 34960 Montpellier Cedex 2, France ' Montpellier Management Institute, University of Montpellier/MRM, Vendémiaire Street, Building D, CS 19519, 34960 Montpellier Cedex 2, France

Abstract: The entrepreneurial ecosystem is an emerging but underdeveloped theoretical stream that needs to be better understood. This research explores a new perspective in the entrepreneurship field at the intersection of the ecosystem and multi-level approaches. The entrepreneurial ecosystem is a multi-level construct, comprised of several interacting sub-ecosystems. The explorative qualitative study uses a multi-level ecosystem analysis based on semi-structured interviews with main groups of actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This enables the characterisation of three main ecosystems: the entrepreneurial ecosystem (macro level), the entrepreneurial support ecosystem (meso level), and the business incubator ecosystem (micro level). The results highlight the importance of studying the interplay among sub-ecosystems as the key to better understand the entrepreneurial ecosystem's success. The main contribution of the paper lies in supporting various entrepreneurial ecosystem actors to understand the ecosystem's composition and thus develop an effective overall strategy for both business incubators and policy makers.

Keywords: entrepreneurial support; business incubator; sub-ecosystems; multi-level approach; entrepreneurship; entrepreneurial ecosystem.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2017.083847

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2017 Vol.31 No.1, pp.47 - 66

Accepted: 23 Nov 2016
Published online: 17 Apr 2017 *

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