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. Advanced Leadership Pathways: Raymond Jetson's MetroMorphosis and the Effort to Transform Baton Rouge

    Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Rakesh Khurana and Daniel Penrice

    Raymond Jetson, an inner-city pastor, former Louisiana state legislator, and 2010 Harvard University Advanced Leadership Fellow, has embarked on a new career as a social entrepreneur. The case charts Jetson's career in public life and the ministry, his experience as an Advanced Leadership Fellow, and his efforts to establish and grow a nonprofit organization, MetroMorphosis, with a mission "to develop and mobilize a critical mass of citizens in inner-city neighborhoods to design and implement sustainable solutions to persistent community challenges." As he approaches 60 and contemplates his future and that of his organization, Jetson must consider how to position MetroMorphosis for maximum impact now and over the long term.

    Keywords: MetroMorphosis; Raymond Jetson; Advanced Leadership Initiative; ALI; social entrepreneurship; Louisiana; Baton Rouge; Social Entrepreneurship; Nonprofit Organizations; Louisiana; North America; United States;


    Kanter, Rosabeth Moss, Rakesh Khurana, and Daniel Penrice. "Advanced Leadership Pathways: Raymond Jetson's MetroMorphosis and the Effort to Transform Baton Rouge." Harvard Business School Case 315-057, December 2014. View Details
  2. DaVita HealthCare Partners and the Denver Public Schools: Creating Connections

    John J-H Kim and Christine S. An

    In 2011, DaVita HealthCare Partners (DaVita)—a Fortune 500 healthcare services company specializing in kidney dialysis services—and the Denver Public Schools (DPS)—the largest school district in Colorado—forged a plan to incorporate greater intentional focus on culture and leadership within the district. A few months into the 2013-2014 school year, DaVita "Mayor" Kent Thiry, DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, and members of their teams gather to review and assess the overall progress, impact, and challenges of their unique corporate-community partnership focused on leadership development and culture over the past two years. With the partnership showing great promise, Thiry and his team wonder how they might create new partnerships and grow their social impact as a company without detracting from DaVita's own growth and expansion and the needs of its own "teammates." The case gives students the opportunity to explore how a mission-driven Fortune 500 company can leverage its own resources and HR expertise to partner with non-corporate entities to create social value and support success in American public education.

    Keywords: corporate-community partnerships; k-12; school districts; DaVita; Kent Thiry; Tom Boasberg; Denver Public Schools; Wisdom Team; DaVita Way; Creating Connections; Social Enterpreise; leadership development; community impact; education reform; public schools; culture; Leadership Development; Partners and Partnerships; Social Entrepreneurship; Business Education; Medical Specialties; Business and Community Relations; Culture; Health Industry; Colorado;


    Kim, John J-H, and Christine S. An. "DaVita HealthCare Partners and the Denver Public Schools: Creating Connections." Harvard Business School Case 315-047, December 2014. View Details
  3. Transition to Clean Technology

    We develop a microeconomic model of endogenous growth where clean and dirty technologies compete in production and innovation, in the sense that research can be directed to either clean or dirty technologies. If dirty technologies are more advanced to start with, the potential transition to clean technology can be difficult both because clean research must climb several rungs to catch up with dirty technology and because this gap discourages research effort directed towards clean technologies. Carbon taxes and research subsidies may nonetheless encourage production and innovation in clean technologies, though the transition will typically be slow. We characterize certain general properties of the transition path from dirty to clean technology. We then estimate the model using a combination of regression analysis on the relationship between R&D and patents, and simulated method of moments using microdata on employment, production, R&D, firm growth, entry and exit from the US energy sector. The model's quantitative implications match a range of moments not targeted in the estimation quite well. We then characterize the optimal policy path implied by the model and our estimates. Optimal policy makes heavy use of research subsidies as well as carbon taxes. We use the model to evaluate the welfare consequences of a range of alternative policies.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Entrepreneurship; Environmental Sustainability; Green Technology Industry;


    Acemoglu, Daron, Ufuk Akcigit, Douglas Hanley, and William R. Kerr. "Transition to Clean Technology." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 15-045, December 2014. View Details
  4. BRAC in 2014

    Tarun Khanna, Rachna Tahilyani, Reeti Roy and Aldo Sesia

    In the early 1970s BRAC was a startup nongovernmental organization (NGO) working in Bangladesh. By 2014, it was the world's largest NGO. It had a strong presence in Bangladesh and had begun to deliver social development programs in nine other countries. Its founder and chairperson Fazle Hasan Abed was knighted in 2010 by the British Crown for his service in reducing poverty. The organization took a holistic approach to alleviating poverty, which depended on providing the poor with a portfolio of services including education, agriculture development, healthcare, community empowerment, and microfinance. Around 70% of the funding to deliver BRAc's development programs and services came from its own for-profit social enterprises. The case study allows students to examine the organization's evolution and its business model.

    Keywords: BRAC; Bangladesh; NGO; strategy; Business Model; Business Organization; Social Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Social Enterprise; Social Issues; Poverty; Bangladesh;


    Khanna, Tarun, Rachna Tahilyani, Reeti Roy, and Aldo Sesia. "BRAC in 2014." Harvard Business School Case 715-414, November 2014. View Details
  5. DoubleDutch

    Frank V. Cespedes and Matthew G. Preble

    Lawrence Coburn and Pankaj Prasad, co-founders of the event solution startup DoubleDutch, have to make a significant decision about their young company's sales function. DoubleDutch's key product was a mobile application (app) and event management platform that customers could use to better engage and connect with their event participants (e.g. attendees at a conference, employees at a quarterly sales meeting), and also to obtain detailed information from these participants to deliver a better future experience, understand how the event was received, and receive large amounts of valuable data.

    The company was growing quickly and rapidly adding new customers, but Coburn and Prasad wanted to make sure that in the drive to add new customers, existing clients whose contracts were expiring were not "slipping through the cracks" when it came time to renew. But who within the company should be responsible for renewals? Sales? The customer success team that helped customers develop and deploy the product? Or an entirely new team dedicated solely to renewals?

    Keywords: sales management; selling; marketing strategy; marketing management; strategy; strategy implementation; business marketing; entrepreneurship; sales force management; Salesforce Management; Marketing; Sales; Marketing Strategy; Strategy; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Technology Industry; United States; Europe; Asia;


    Cespedes, Frank V., and Matthew G. Preble. "DoubleDutch." Harvard Business School Case 815-044, November 2014. View Details
  6. Cravia: An Entrepreneurial Endeavor in Dubai

    Lynda Applegate and Michael Norris

    Walid Hajj (HBS '95), CEO of Dubai-based restaurant franchising company Cravia considers how best to expand his business in the fast-growing Gulf region. Should he add more American brands, expand to nearby countries, or open more of his current lineup of restaurants?

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship in emerging markets; entrepreneurs; Middle East; franchise; Food retail franchising; Franchise Ownership; Entrepreneurship; Food and Beverage Industry; United Arab Emirates; Dubai;


    Applegate, Lynda, and Michael Norris. "Cravia: An Entrepreneurial Endeavor in Dubai." Harvard Business School Case 315-049, November 2014. View Details
  7. Entrepreneurship and Business Groups: An Evolutionary Perspective on the Growth of the Koç Group in Turkey

    Asli M. Coplan and Geoffrey Jones

    This working paper examines the origins and development of the Koç Group, which grew to be the largest business group in Turkey. This enterprise was an important actor in the emergence of modern business enterprise in the new state of the Republic of Turkey from the 1920s. After World War II it diversified rapidly, forming part of a cluster of business groups which dominated the Turkish economy alongside state-owned firms. This study shows how the founder of the Group, Vehbi Koç, formulated his business model, and analyzes how his firm evolved into a diversified business group. The research supports prevailing explanations of business groups which identify the role of institutional voids, government policies and contact capabilities, but it also builds on and extends earlier suggestions in both the management and business history literatures that entrepreneurship needs incorporating more strongly as an explanatory factor. This working paper argues that Koç acted as both a Kirznerian and Schumpeterian entrepreneur to build his business group, both in its formative stages and later in its subsequent growth into a diversified group.

    Keywords: business groups; Turkey; Entrepreneurship in emerging markets; Entrepreneurship; History; Government and Politics; Auto Industry; Banking Industry; Electronics Industry; Middle East; Europe;


    Coplan, Asli M., and Geoffrey Jones. "Entrepreneurship and Business Groups: An Evolutionary Perspective on the Growth of the Koç Group in Turkey." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 15-035, November 2014. View Details
  8. Taryn Rose Launches Dresr: Street Marketing a Luxury Brand

    Lena G. Goldberg, Marcel Saucet and Christine Snively

    Serial entrepreneur and shoe designer Taryn Rose, M.D., prepared to launch a new e-commerce platform, Dresr, which would connect shoppers with tastemakers online. Dresr would bring the service element found in brick and mortar luxury stores into the online shopping experience, and allow consumers to select outfits from multiple retailers and make their purchases with a single click. Rose worked with a street marketing team to introduce the new platform in hopes of generating online buzz. Street marketing often introduced legal risks, however, and Rose wished to minimize legal exposure.

    Keywords: luxury; e-commerce; marketing strategy; online platforms; online marketing; Footwear; entrepreneurship; legal aspects of business; Entrepreneurship; Legal Liability; Marketing; Social Marketing; Luxury; Technology Platform;


    Goldberg, Lena G., Marcel Saucet, and Christine Snively. "Taryn Rose Launches Dresr: Street Marketing a Luxury Brand." Harvard Business School Case 315-025, November 2014. View Details
  9. Oasys Water: Balancing Strategic Partnerships & Financing Decisions

    Ramana Nanda, William A. Sahlman and Sid Misra

    Oasys Water had developed a proprietary water treatment technology based on an innovative Forward Osmosis process that could remove dissolved solids from water more effectively and efficiently than existing technologies. As Oasys looked to scale, it was exploring partnerships with various incumbent firms: the most serious were with a set of international oil & gas production companies (IOCs), a global oil and gas (O&G) services provider called National Oilwell Varco (NOV), and Woteer, a Chinese EPC company specializing in industrial water and wastewater systems.

    Woteer had expressed an interest in gaining exclusive access to Oasys' forward osmosis technology for water treatment applications in China in exchange for an equity investment. Matheson did not have the luxury of choosing a partner solely on the merits of its strategic value to Oasys. He was forced to evaluate the strategic benefit alongside the likelihood of actually closing a deal, the specific terms of each deal, and especially the speed with which a deal could be closed, given Oasys' pressing financing needs. Should he do a deal with Woteer, and if so, on what terms?

    Keywords: entrepreneurial finance; entrepreneurship; finance; strategy; Entrepreneurship; China;


    Nanda, Ramana, William A. Sahlman, and Sid Misra. "Oasys Water: Balancing Strategic Partnerships & Financing Decisions." Harvard Business School Case 815-076, November 2014. View Details
  10. The Grommet

    Lynda Applegate, Karen G. Mills, Lena Goldberg and Annelena Lobb

    The Grommet, an online product launch platform, was at the brink of scaling its business. The Grommet's daily launch and sale of innovative consumer products, using personal videos created by product makers, had led to its initial success. In 2014, the company launched The Grommet Wholesale, a similar platform targeting retailers. Was this the best way to capture more of the value the company created for makers?

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; product launch; retail; Online Technology; Entrepreneurship; Product Launch; Retail Industry;


    Applegate, Lynda, Karen G. Mills, Lena Goldberg, and Annelena Lobb. "The Grommet." Harvard Business School Case 815-070, November 2014. View Details
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