Entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurship

#4 Wolfgang Sofka

Wolfgang Sofka received his doctoral degree from the University of Hamburg. He has previously worked for the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Germany and Tilburg University in the Netherlands. His research is built around the topic of how firms can prosper in an environment in which the creation of innovations becomes an increasingly shared and interconnected activity, sometimes referred to as Open Innovation. This trend allows them to search and work with promising partners, e.g. leading customers or universities. At the same time, they need to develop strategies for capturing the value of the resulting innovations.

 

wolfgangsofka
 

 



 

Associate Professor
Tel: +45 38152502
E-mail: ws.smg@cbs.dk
Department of Strategic Management and Globalization

What is your understanding of entrepreneurship? 

Entrepreneurship is the act, process and research field on how new organisations are founded. Entrepreneurship usually entails the assimilation of crucial resources (e.g. funding, human resources, knowledge) with the purpose of creating a new economic entity. Entrepreneurship typically leads to the creation of new firms but can also include organisations without the primary purpose of creating profits (e.g. for social needs).

 

What characterises an entrepreneur as an individual? 

The typical entrepreneur has the ability to mobilise crucial resources and combine them in a novel way. This inherent novelty oftentimes implies that he/she makes decisions under conditions of uncertainty and is willing to accept substantial risks. Not all entrepreneurs act out of opportunity. They can also be pushed towards entrepreneurship in the absence of alternative career perspectives.

What does this mean for university education, or education more generally? 

Certain characteristics of entrepreneurs are not teachable, e.g. the ability to accept risks. Universities can teach content and processes underlying entrepreneurship, e.g. financial planning or communicating with investors. Universities can provide learning environments in which students can immerse themselves in an entrepreneurial experience without exposing themselves to the financial risks. Students can learn and experience to think like entrepreneurs. Schools and universities would be ill-advised to push students into entrepreneurship, given the substantial failure rates. They can provide opportunities and knowledge for students who decide for themselves whether they want to become entrepreneurs.

 What is the role and function of entrepreneurship for private companies and for
the public sector? 

Entrepreneurship is an important tool for firms and the public sector to explore new opportunities, whether they are commercial (e.g. new products or services) or societal in nature. Entrepreneurs can develop and find solutions to problems which cannot be predicted ex-ante. The entrepreneurial approach allows dedicated organisations to explore these new solutions without being constrained by existing hierarchies, practices or structures. It is inherent to the process that many of these new solutions will fail, but the successful ones should make up for the losses incurred from the failures.


In what sense is entrepreneurship important for society? 

Entrepreneurship fills an important need in society to provide new solutions to problems which are not or insufficiently covered by the status quo. It allows societies to adjust and adapt to changing needs. Finding these new solutions in new organisations ensures that resources are used productively and efficiently.

To whom do you pass on the baton? 
William B. Gartner 

 

Sidst opdateret: Entrepreneurship Platform // 21/01/2015