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. Entrepreneurial Beacons: The Yale Endowment, Run-ups, and the Growth of Venture Capital

    Rory McDonald, Y. Sekou Bermiss, Benjamin J. Hallen and Emily Cox Pahnke

    This paper investigates the social context of entrepreneurship in organizational sectors. Prior research suggests that firm foundings are driven by collective patterns of activity—that is, by patterns of prior foundings, of support from related markets, and of institutional activism in a given sector. Building on research on social salience and signals, we consider the influence of singular sector-level triggers, which we call entrepreneurial beacons. We argue that the actions or outcomes of salient organizations attract and motivate entrepreneurs, thus increasing the rate of foundings. To test this logic, we examine the impact of the Yale University endowment’s investment choices and of venture-capital-backed IPO run-ups on venture-capital foundings between 1984 and 2011. The results pinpoint the aspects of the social environment that most heavily influence entrepreneurial activity and the dynamics of organizational sectors.

    Keywords: Venture Capital; Organizations; Economic Sectors; Entrepreneurship;


    McDonald, Rory, Y. Sekou Bermiss, Benjamin J. Hallen, and Emily Cox Pahnke. "Entrepreneurial Beacons: The Yale Endowment, Run-ups, and the Growth of Venture Capital." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 15-066, February 2015. View Details
  2. Continental Hope Group

    Christopher Marquis and Qi Li

    This case provides an opportunity to examine and discuss how a traditional Chinese private business was launched and developed into a globalizing, multi-industry corporation. It also highlights how second generation entrepreneurs successfully developed an innovative industry model to sustain a green and profitable business, how the company valued, motivated and retained its talent, and how Chinese private enterprise can go global.

    Keywords: globalization; family business; China; technology; real estate; talent retention; incentives; global strategy; Talent and Talent Management; Diversification; Family Business; Business Growth and Maturation; Entrepreneurship; Global Strategy; Construction Industry; Tourism Industry; Energy Industry; Real Estate Industry; Chemical Industry; China;


    Marquis, Christopher, and Qi Li. "Continental Hope Group." Harvard Business School Case 415-050, February 2015. View Details
  3. Eataly: Reimagining the Grocery Store

    Sunil Gupta, Michela Addis and Ruth Page

    Within a few years of its operations, the Italian-based supermarket Eataly created a lot of buzz and excitement among consumers and media. Eataly's initial success was even more impressive in an industry known for its intense competition and low margins. How did Eataly manage to grow so quickly, and could it sustain its growth in the future?

    Keywords: Customer Engagement; innovation; entrepreneurship; marketing; retailing; Supermarkets; Agribusiness; Customers; Entrepreneurship; Food; Marketing; Retail Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Europe; Asia; North and Central America;


    Gupta, Sunil, Michela Addis, and Ruth Page. "Eataly: Reimagining the Grocery Store." Harvard Business School Video Case 515-708, January 2015. View Details
  4. More Citizens Connect

    Mitchell Weiss

    Funding to scale Citizens Connect, Boston's 311 app, is both a blessing and a burden and tests two public entrepreneurs. In 2012, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides Boston's Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics with a grant to scale Citizens Connect across the state. The money gives two co-creators of Citizens Connect, Chris Osgood and Nigel Jacob, a chance to grow their vision for citizen-engaged governance and civic innovation, but it also requires that the two City of Boston leaders sit on a formal selection committee that pits their original partner, Connected Bits, against another player that might meet the specific requirements for delivering a statewide version. The selection and scaling process raise questions beyond just which partner to choose. What would happen to the Citizens Connect brand as Osgood and Jacob's product spreads across the state? Who could help scale their work best then nationally? Which business models were best positioned to drive that growth? What intellectual property arrangements would best enable it? And what role should the two city employees have, anyway, in scaling Citizens Connect outside of Boston in the first place? These questions hung in the air as they pondered the one big one about passing over Connected Bits for another partner: should they?

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; civic technology; government innovation; civic innovation; cities; New Urban Mechanics; Thomas. M. Menino; Chris Osgood; Nigel Jacob; Connected Bits; SeeClickFix; Ben Berkowitz; Eric Carlson; Dave Mitchell; government technology; open innovation; open source software; Citizens Connect; Commonwealth Connect; Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Invention; Innovation Leadership; Innovation and Management; Open Source Distribution; Public Administration Industry; Information Technology Industry; Boston;


    Weiss, Mitchell. "More Citizens Connect." Harvard Business School Case 315-075, January 2015. View Details
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Groupon: A New CEO Takes Charge

    Lynda M. Applegate and Arnold B. Peinado

    On August 7, 2013, Eric Lefkofsky, the chairman and largest shareholder of Groupon was named CEO, replacing founder Andrew Mason, who had run the company since its inception in 2009. When Groupon had its initial public offering (IPO) in November 2011, the company's stock was offered at $20 a share. When Lefkofsky took over from Mason, the company was worth about a quarter of the IPO price and some technology experts were predicting that Groupon could well go bankrupt. Lefkofsky faced the challenge of turning Groupon into one of the major Internet companies that many predicted it would be. What lessons could Groupon learn from successful Internet companies, like Amazon, Google, LinkedIn and Facebook? How could it incorporate those lessons into a unique strategy that would enable the company to fulfill its early promise?

    Keywords: entrepreneurial management; Disruptive Technologies; growth strategy; customer relations; service management; international business; business models; strategy execution; Entrepreneurship; Growth and Development Strategy; Business Model; United States;


    Applegate, Lynda M., and Arnold B. Peinado. "Groupon: A New CEO Takes Charge." Harvard Business School Case 815-083, December 2014. View Details
  8. HN Agri Serve: Growing Prosperity

    Jose B. Alvarez, Anjali Raina and Rachna Chawla

    In 2014, Khuram Mir, CEO of HN Agri Serve, an innovative apple orchard company in the Kashmir region of Northern India, wonders about the best growth strategy for his company.

    Keywords: Agribusiness; Entrepreneurship in emerging markets; india; Agribusiness; Entrepreneurship; Food and Beverage Industry; India;


    Alvarez, Jose B., Anjali Raina, and Rachna Chawla. "HN Agri Serve: Growing Prosperity." Harvard Business School Case 515-006, December 2014. View Details
  9. 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
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