Who is left out: exploring social boundaries in entrepreneurial ecosystems

Xaver Neumeyer, Susana C. Santos, Michael H. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


This study attempts to develop our understanding of the ecosystem as a complex social construct by advancing a social network perspective. Based on personal interviews we model the entrepreneurial ecosystems of two municipalities through a diverse network of entrepreneurs, investors, and institutional leaders. The two ecosystems were characterized and compared on measures related to the level of connectivity between actors, the existence of social boundaries, the role and position of actors with certain attributes (e.g. women, minorities) and the presence of ties in multiple social contexts (e.g. friend and investor). Our results suggest that entrepreneurial ecosystems consist of different social clusters, forming boundaries along venture type (e.g. high-growth, lifestyle), type of support institution (e.g. university, government agency), gender, race, and ethnicity. High-growth/technology entrepreneurs, for example, were predominantly white, male and strongly connected to technology commercialization and acceleration programs. In contrast, entrepreneurs operating survival ventures are mainly non-white, female and often socially disconnected from the main institutions. We also found differences with respect to network connectivity between stakeholders in both ecosystems. Based on our findings, we draw managerial implications for different stakeholders of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-484
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Accounting
  • Engineering(all)


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