Entrepreneurship is a featured research topic and an initiative at Harvard Business School
Our long tradition of research in Entrepreneurship goes back to the 1930's and 1940's with the “the father of venture capitalism,” General Georges Doriot, and Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of innovation as a process of “creative destruction.” Building on our intellectual roots, our scholars come from disciplines including economics, finance, sociology, strategy, business history, management, and social entrepreneurship. A number of our faculty come from practice as venture capitalists and start-up founders. We focus our research on the identification and pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities; domestic and international funding of entrepreneurial endeavors; innovation, particularly technological innovation in international ventures; the environments in which entrepreneurs make decisions; and social entrepreneurship. As our research contributes new insights, we are advancing the world’s understanding of complex entrepreneurial issues and helping to increase the entrepreneurial success of our students and practitioners worldwide. 
  1. National Image as a Competitive Disadvantage: The Case of the New Zealand Organic Food Industry

    G. Jones and Simon Mowatt

    This article examines why organic agriculture and food consumption developed more strongly in some countries than others between the 1970s and the 2000s. The focus is the limited growth of the New Zealand organic sector, which contrasts with countries such as Denmark, which were similar in size and shared significant export agribusiness sectors, but whose organic food sector became significantly larger. While the power of incumbent vested interests and unsupportive public policies emerge as major explanatory factors, the article argues that the long-established national image of New Zealand as a clean and green country may have been the major constraint.

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; industrial organization; Chinitz; agglomeration; clusters; cities; mines; political economy; business history; FDI; Agribusiness Industry; Agriculture; Agribusiness; Entrepreneurship; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Retail Industry; New Zealand; Denmark;


    Jones, G., and Simon Mowatt. "National Image as a Competitive Disadvantage: The Case of the New Zealand Organic Food Industry." Business History 58, no. 8 (2016): 1262–1288. View Details
  2. FJ Management Inc.

    Lynda M. Applegate and Matthew Preble

    In late 2015, Crystal Call Maggelet, president and CEO of FJ Management, is working with her investment committee to help set the company’s strategic direction. Maggelet, daughter of the company’s founder, has led FJ Management since 2009 when she stepped in as CEO following an unexpected bankruptcy. At that time, FJ Management was known as Flying J. Flying J owned and operated hundreds of truck stops—which it called Travel Plazas—nationwide and was a growing multi-billion dollar business, but broader problems in the oil and credit markets in late 2008 forced it to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
    Maggelet, who had been serving on Flying J’s board, became its new CEO and was able to successfully manage competing stakeholder demands, keep the business running, and ultimately paid back every dollar it owed to its creditors by selling the company’s core assets—its travel plazas—to its main competitor in 2010. Since that time, the company had returned to a healthy financial position, diversified its holdings, and made investments in diverse industries to determine how to grow the company, since renamed FJ Management. In 2015, Maggelet now wants to set a clear path forward for the company.

    Keywords: turnaround; family business; transformation; Volatility; change management; entrepreneurship; ethics; moral sensibility; Values and Beliefs; Cash flow; insolvency and bankruptcy; financial liquidity; financial management; governance; corporate governance; governance controls; company history; leadership; leading change; crisis management; negotiation; Organizational Change and Adaptation; family ownership; business and stakeholder relations; Business Strategy; Family Business; Transformation; Volatility; Change Management; Entrepreneurship; Ethics; Moral Sensibility; Values and Beliefs; Cash Flow; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; Financial Liquidity; Financial Management; Governance; Corporate Governance; Governance Controls; Leadership; Leading Change; Crisis Management; Negotiation; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Family Ownership; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Business Strategy; Energy Industry; Travel Industry; Retail Industry; Service Industry; Utah;


    Applegate, Lynda M., and Matthew Preble. "FJ Management Inc." Harvard Business School Case 817-043, September 2016. View Details
  3. InsideSales.com (A)

    Frank V. Cespedes

    This case focuses on growth requirements for a company moving from its base in SMB customers (Small and Mid-Sized businesses) to Enterprise customers (companies with more than 500 employees). It examines the differences in buying processes, product requirements, after-sale services, and the implications for organizing and deploying sales resources at InsideSales.com.

    Keywords: business organization; customer relationship management; marketing strategy; Organizational Change and Adaptation; organizational design; Salesforce Management; Talent; talent management; Organizations; Growth Management; Sales; Salesforce Management; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Technology Industry; United States;


    Cespedes, Frank V. "InsideSales.com (A)." Harvard Business School Case 817-018, August 2016. View Details
  4. Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology & Innovation

    Linda A. Hill and Allison J. Wigen

    This case explores the role of Tom Kalil as Deputy Director for Technology & Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. With the end of President Obama's Administration drawing near, Kalil and his team of "policy entrepreneurs" must work to build an ecosystem of individuals and organizations both inside and outside the Federal government, if they hope to see their science & technology initiatves continue into the next Administration. The case allows for discussion of: leading innovation ecosystems; building public-private and public-public collaborations; leading system innovation; talent management and development; and public sector innovation.

    Keywords: innovation; Innovation Leadership; Government and Politics; government innovation; talent management; collaboration; policy-making; Public sector management; leadership; leadership and managing people; Public-Private Partnerships; Ecosystems; science and technology studies; public entrepreneurship; entrepreneurship; Business and Government; Entrepreneurship; Government and Politics; Leadership; Networks; Partners and Partnerships; Science; Technology; Technology Industry; North and Central America; United States; District of Columbia;


    Hill, Linda A., and Allison J. Wigen. "Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology & Innovation." Harvard Business School Case 417-021, August 2016. View Details
  5. S'well: The Mass Market Decision

    Youngme Moon

    This case tells the story of how Sarah Kauss, a young female entrepreneur, built a premium water bottle brand from scratch. After having built a high-end brand, the key decision in the case is whether to begin expanding the S'well product portfolio to the mass market.

    Keywords: Brands and Branding; Marketing; Business Startups; Entrepreneurship; Distribution; Strategy; United States;


    Moon, Youngme. "S'well: The Mass Market Decision." Harvard Business School Case 317-019, August 2016. View Details
  6. Alphabet Eyes New Frontiers

    Juan Alcacer, Raffaella Sadun, Olivia Hull and Kerry Herman

    In October 2015, Google restructured into Alphabet, a holding company, which analysts said would facilitate innovation among its diverse subsidiaries. But when news reports surfaced revealing struggles within Alphabet companies including Nest, the smart thermostat maker, observers began to wonder if the reorganization made sense after all.

    Keywords: innovation; conglomerates; corporate restructuring; google; Corporate Strategy; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Innovation Strategy; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Research and Development; Diversification; Financial Reporting; Talent and Talent Management; Technology Industry; Computer Industry; California; United States;


    Alcacer, Juan, Raffaella Sadun, Olivia Hull, and Kerry Herman. "Alphabet Eyes New Frontiers." Harvard Business School Case 717-418, July 2016. (Revised August 2016.) View Details
  7. Blue D Pharmaceuticals

    Kevin Schulman, Emma Rasiel and Suresh Balu

    Susan Durham has just been hired as the Chief Financial Officer of Blue Devil Pharmaceuticals (BDP). Her charge is to understand the optimal pathway for the development of a novel molecule, BDP-1, to understand the cost of drug development, the market opportunity, and the optimal financing strategy for the development of this technology. The case includes a unique simulation model that examines key unknowns in making this assessment including the volatility in the financial markets, volatility in in-licensing markets. Financial strategies include: go-alone, partner with a pharmaceutical company, receive financing from a private equity firm, or there is an option to sell the molecule. Students can see how uncertainty in the development and financing strategy can impact the value of the firm to shareholders.

    Keywords: finance; entrepreneurship; Finance; Entrepreneurship;


    Schulman, Kevin, Emma Rasiel, and Suresh Balu. "Blue D Pharmaceuticals." Harvard Business School Case 317-014, July 2016. View Details
  8. Stick to the Strategy or Make the Sale?: A Manufacturer of High-tech Streetlights Considers an Exception to Its New Subscription Model

    Mitchell Weiss

    A manufacturer of high-tech streetlights considers an exception to its new subscription model. A fictionalized case study based on the HBS Case 816-005, "Bigbelly," by Mitchell Weiss and Christine Snively. This case is an example of public entrepreneurship.

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; smart cities; anything as a service; Xaas; Bigbelly; Entrepreneurship;


    Weiss, Mitchell. "Stick to the Strategy or Make the Sale? A Manufacturer of High-tech Streetlights Considers an Exception to Its New Subscription Model." Harvard Business Review 94, nos. 7-8 (July–August 2016): 119–121. (Published online as “Case Study: Should You Adjust Your Business Model for a Major Customer?") View Details
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