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. Dinr: My First Start-up (A)

    Shikhar Ghosh and Kristina Maslauskaite

    In May 2012, a young employee at Google's London office, Markus Berger, was thinking whether he should quit his job and go after his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Berger's idea was to create Dinr, a company that would offer an upscale food ingredient delivery service in London. A customer would choose a recipe on Dinr's website and would receive all premeasured ingredients the same evening at their doorstep. Contrary to many existing similar companies, Dinr would not require a weekly subscription, but would operate one-off orders like other traditional food delivery services. Berger had already carried out an Alpha-test of the service and completed an in-depth survey of potential customers to explore the market. Most of the feedback was positive, which confirmed Berger's intuition about this market opportunity. Berger had found a more experienced co-founder with technical expertise, who was willing to join Dinr part-time and gathered £40,000 of initial capital. Yet, making the decision to leave his corporate job and become an entrepreneur was not easy: was Dinr a good business opportunity? Would it be attractive to outside investors? What were the risks involved?

    Keywords: exit strategy; Startup; entrepreneurship; food; start-up; Business Exit or Shutdown; Business Startups; Entrepreneurship; Food;


    Ghosh, Shikhar, and Kristina Maslauskaite. "Dinr: My First Start-up (A)." Harvard Business School Case 816-023, August 2015. View Details
  2. George Washington and the Foundations of American Democracy

    Tom Nicholas and Matthew G. Preble

    George Washington is perhaps the most well-known of the U.S.’s founding fathers because of his political and military achievements. However, Washington also operated a number of successful business ventures out of his Mount Vernon estate, and he became a landowner on the American frontier. Washington’s life and career serve as a lens for understanding the development of the early American economy. Washington was entrepreneurial both economically and politically. He played a central role in helping to structure the new country’s national government and developed a number of precedents as the country’s first executive.

    Keywords: government; history; leadership; entrepreneurship; George Washington; democracy; Decision Making; Entrepreneurship; Government and Politics; Business History; Leadership; United States;


    Nicholas, Tom, and Matthew G. Preble. "George Washington and the Foundations of American Democracy." Harvard Business School Case 816-019, August 2015. View Details
  3. Horst Dassler, Adidas, and the Commercialization of Sport

    Geoffrey Jones, Michael Norris and Sophi Kim

    The case focuses on the career of Horst Dassler, the son of the founder of the German-based sports shoe manufacturer Adidas. The origins of the firm were in the interwar years, and it rose to public prominence after it provided spikes for the famous African-American sprinter in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. From the 1950s Horst cultivated relationships with athletes and national associations to expand his sports apparel business and develop sports sponsorship, competing fiercely against competitors such as Puma and Nike. During the 1970s he played a key role in commercializing the international soccer federation FIFA, including creating a television market for soccer, and he subsequently became a key force behind arranging sponsorships and broadcasting rights for the Olympics. The case explores the drivers of success of this major consumer brand, and provdes the opportunity to discuss the positives and negatives of the globalization and commercialization of sport.

    Keywords: corruption; Economic History; business history; entertainment; business; strategy; media; Sports; Digital technology; blockbuster; superstar; film; television; music; publishing; performing arts; nightlife; Crime and Corruption; Entrepreneurship; Globalization; History; Sports; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Consumer Products Industry; Fashion Industry; Sports Industry; Germany; South America; Europe; Asia; North and Central America;


    Jones, Geoffrey, Michael Norris, and Sophi Kim. "Horst Dassler, Adidas, and the Commercialization of Sport." Harvard Business School Case 316-007, July 2015. View Details
  4. Tanfeeth: Bringing Service Excellence to the GCC

    Lynda M. Applegate and Arnold B. Peinado

    Tanfeeth, a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm in the United Arab Emirates, was founded in July 2011 as a fully owned subsidiary of Emirates NBD, the largest bank in the Gulf Corporation Council. When Tanfeeth was founded, Emirates NBD, along with the leaders of Tanfeeth, decided that Tanfeeth would begin by improving processes at the bank. However, two years after its founding, some Tanfeeth executives felt that the organization needed to take on work from outside clients. They were concerned that if Tanfeeth waited too long, its first-mover advantage and position as market leader would deteriorate. Additionally, if Emirates NBD held back Tanfeeth's growth ambitions, some of the world-class talent Tanfeeth had been able to attract might leave. What was the best course of action for Emirates NBD and Tanfeeth?

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; Middle East; outsourcing; leadership; Entrepreneurship; Leadership; Middle East;


    Applegate, Lynda M., and Arnold B. Peinado. "Tanfeeth: Bringing Service Excellence to the GCC." Harvard Business School Case 815-129, May 2015. View Details
  5. Pricing in a Digital World (2015)

    John Gourville

    This case presents media reports for five instances of interesting pricing strategies, each enabled by digital technologies. Students are asked to assess the goals and efficacy of each. Importantly, each pricing strategy is intended to do more than just maximize revenue or profits.

    Keywords: pricing; marketing; dynamic pricing; price customization; Technology; Price; Entrepreneurship; Customization and Personalization; Product Marketing;


    Gourville, John. "Pricing in a Digital World (2015)." Harvard Business School Case 515-104, May 2015. View Details
  6. Entrepreneurial Creativity: The Role of Learning Processes and Work Environment Supports

    Michele Rigolizzo and Teresa M. Amabile

    Keywords: creativity; innovation; entrepreneurship; Creativity; Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Invention;


    Rigolizzo, Michele, and Teresa M. Amabile. "Entrepreneurial Creativity: The Role of Learning Processes and Work Environment Supports." Chap. 4 in The Oxford Handbook of Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, edited by Christina E. Shalley, Michael A. Hitt, and Jing Zhou, 61–78. Oxford University Press, 2015. View Details
  7. Lost in the Clouds: The Impact of Changing Property Rights on Investment in Cloud Computing Ventures

    Josh Lerner and Greg Rafert

    Our analysis seeks to understand the impact of changing allocations of property rights on investment in new firms. We focus on the Cartoon Network, et al. v. Cablevision decision in the U.S., which narrowed the protection enjoyed by content creators (e.g., movie studios) and gave greater rights to downstream technology firms, as well as decisions in France and Germany that took an opposite view. Our findings regarding relative venture capital investment in the U.S. and Europe, across Europe, and between the various judicial circuits of the U.S. suggest that decisions around the allocation of property rights can have economically and statistically significant impacts on investment in innovative enterprises.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Venture Capital; Internet; Entrepreneurship; Investment; Copyright;


    Lerner, Josh, and Greg Rafert. "Lost in the Clouds: The Impact of Changing Property Rights on Investment in Cloud Computing Ventures." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 15-082, April 2015. View Details
  8. NXTP Labs: An Innovative Accelerator Model

    Josh Lerner, Maria Fernanda Miguel and Laura Urdapilleta

    Unique accelerator fund in Latin America, facing challenges on how to keep growing, including development of venture capital fund and leveraging of entrepreneur ecosystem.

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; Latin America; accelerator; ecosystem; Entrepreneurship; Venture Capital; Business Startups; Financial Services Industry; Latin America;


    Lerner, Josh, Maria Fernanda Miguel, and Laura Urdapilleta. "NXTP Labs: An Innovative Accelerator Model." Harvard Business School Case 815-110, April 2015. (Revised July 2015.) View Details
  9. Strategy Rules: Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs

    David B. Yoffie and Michael A. Cusumano

    The authors of the bestselling Competing on Internet Time (a Business Week top 10 book) analyze the strategies, principles, and skills of three of the most successful and influential figures in business—Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs—offering lessons for all managers and entrepreneurs on leadership, strategy, and execution.
    In less than a decade, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Andy Grove founded three companies that would define the world of technology and transform our lives. At their peaks, Microsoft, Apple, and Intel were collectively worth some $1.5 trillion. Strategy Rules examines these three individuals collectively for the first time—their successes and failures, commonalities, and differences—revealing the business strategies and practices they pioneered while building their firms.
    David B. Yoffie and Michael A. Cusumano have studied these three leaders and their companies for more than thirty years, while teaching business strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship at Harvard and MIT. In this enlightening guide, they show how Gates, Grove, and Jobs approached strategy and execution in remarkably similar ways—yet markedly differently from their erstwhile competitors—keeping their focus on five strategic rules. Strategy Rules brings together the best practices in strategic management and high-tech entrepreneurship from three path-breaking entrepreneurs who emerged as CEOs of huge global companies. Their approaches to formulating strategy and building organizations offer unique insights for start-up executives as well as the heads of modern multinationals.

    Keywords: Management; Strategy; Leadership; Information Technology; Entrepreneurship; Information Technology Industry;


    Yoffie, David B., and Michael A. Cusumano. Strategy Rules: Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs. New York: HarperBusiness, 2015. View Details
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