Open Access Article

Title: Ecopreneurs' creation of user business models for green tech: an exploratory study in e-mobility

Authors: Nizar Abdelkafi; Erik G. Hansen

Addresses: Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy, Neumarkt 9-19, 04109 Leipzig, Germany ' Institute for Integrated Quality Design (IQD), Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz, Altenberger Straße 69, 4040 Linz, Austria

Abstract: This paper examines ecopreneurship in established ventures that serve as early adopters of radical environmental technologies through so-called user business model innovation. Renewable e-mobility is identified as an appropriate application. The research methodology consists of two steps: a document analysis for developing a typology of ecopreneurs with user business models, and an in-depth case study analysis. We identify four patterns of entrepreneurial user business models in e-mobility: predominantly simple use, complementary business, feedback to core business, and additional business. We also explore the transformation path of the case company, which starts with simple use and then moves to the feedback to core business pattern. By drawing on insights from lead user theory in innovation management and sustainable entrepreneurship, we ground the new concept in extant literature and develop propositions. These propositions uncover some properties of ecopreneurs, the diffusion of environmental technologies, and industry transformations due to user business models.

Keywords: ecopreneurship; user business models; business model patterns; electric mobility; e-mobility; environmental technology; sustainability; transformation path; lead user theory; diffusion.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2018.090978

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2018 Vol.10 No.1, pp.32 - 55

Accepted: 10 Jul 2017
Published online: 04 Apr 2018 *