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. Housing Collateral, Credit Constraints and Entrepreneurship—Evidence from a Mortgage Reform

    We study how a mortgage reform that exogenously increased access to credit had an impact on entrepreneurship, using individual-level micro data from Denmark. The reform allows us to disentangle the role of credit access from wealth effects that typically confound analyses of the collateral channel. We find that a $30,000 increase in credit availability led to a 12 basis point increase in entrepreneurship, equivalent to a 4% increase in the number of entrepreneurs. New entrants were more likely to start businesses in sectors where they had no prior experience, and were more likely to fail than those who did not benefit from the reform. Our results provide evidence that credit constraints do affect entrepreneurship, but that the overall magnitudes are small. Moreover, the marginal individuals selecting into entrepreneurship when constraints are relaxed may well be starting businesses that are of lower quality than the average existing businesses, leading to an increase in churning entry that does not translate into a sustained increase in the overall level of entrepreneurship.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Mortgages;


    Jensen, Thais Laerkholm, Søren Leth-Petersen, and Ramana Nanda. "Housing Collateral, Credit Constraints and Entrepreneurship—Evidence from a Mortgage Reform." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 15-020, October 2014. View Details
  2. NuScale Power—the Future of Small Modular Reactors

    NuScale Power, an entrepreneurial venture in Portland, Oregon, has designed the leading modular nuclear reactor in the United States. This Reactor will be the safest and simplest ever built. Started in 2007 as an entrepreneurial venture, the company is now two years away from applying to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a License certification. While the NRC considers their application, the company will finish designing a nuclear plant to use 12 of their modular reactors. If the company can mitigate the substantial risks facing it, 2021 will see their first of several hundred planned sales.

    Keywords: nuclear; Power; technology; entrepreneurship; risk; energy; Energy; Technology; Entrepreneurship; Risk and Uncertainty; Energy Industry;


    Vietor, Richard. "NuScale Power—the Future of Small Modular Reactors." Harvard Business School Case 715-004, October 2014. View Details
  3. CreditEase: Providing Credit and Financial Services for China's Underclass

    In 2013 Ning Tang, who in 2006 founded CreditEase as a broker of P2P loans to unbanked individuals and small businesses in China, confronts the challenges of rapid growth and expansion in a changing regulatory environment. CreditEase needs to develop technology to manage its growth, address issues related to the company’s expansion into products and services for China’s growing high net worth (HNW) population, including questions about the suitability of its products and its vulnerability to bad debt losses and a potential leveling off of the growth in China’s economy, and adjust to new and more intensive regulatory oversight. What should Tang do to position CreditEase so that it can continue to fulfill its mission of making financial products and services available to millions of underserved Chinese while branching out into other, potentially riskier lines of business and ensuring continuing compliance with evolving laws and regulations? Will its rapid growth be sustainable?

    Keywords: P2P Lending; HNW products and services; Business growth; Business Start-ups; law; Government Regulation; Chang Management; credit; Microcredit; Financing and Lloans; banking; Innovation and Management; Developing Countries and Economies; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Social Entrepreneurship; Law; Financing and Loans; Change; China;


    Goldberg, Lena G., Paul Healy, and Nancy Hua Dai. "CreditEase: Providing Credit and Financial Services for China's Underclass." Harvard Business School Case 315-027, October 2014. View Details
  4. The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art

    Since its opening in Beijing in November 2007 as the first non-profit art center in China, UCCA had been operating with the mission to "promote the continued development of the Chinese art scene, foster international exchange, and showcase the latest in art and culture to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year." For the past six years, UCCA had worked with more than 100 artists and designers to present 87 art exhibitions and 1,826 public programs to over 1.8 million visitors, including many important leaders from all over the world. Given the context of the economic and political environment in the rapidly changing Chinese art market, the founders and senior management of UCCA wondered what they could do to achieve growth and financial viability while continuing to realize their mission.

    Keywords: art world; art gallery; art market; Arts; Nonprofit Organizations; Entrepreneurship; China;


    Khaire, Mukti, and Nancy Hua Dai. "The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art." Harvard Business School Case 815-022, September 2014. View Details
  5. Advanced Leadership Pathways: Raymond Jetson's MetroMorphosis and the Effort to Transform Baton Rouge

    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 M., Rakesh Khurana, and Daniel Penrice. "Advanced Leadership Pathways: Raymond Jetson's MetroMorphosis and the Effort to Transform Baton Rouge." Harvard Business School Case 315-013, September 2014. View Details
  6. Fast Ion Battery

    John Davidson, a partner at Ware Street Capital (WSC) and a board member at Fast Ion Battery, had just received a phone call from Don Lerner at Bluelock Ventures telling him that Bluelock would not participate in the $5M bridge financing for Fast Ion Battery. Lerner's call could not have come at a worse time. Fast Ion was running out of cash and needed another round of financing urgently to continue developing its revolutionary battery.
    Davidson faced a real dilemma. On the one hand, the company was finally gaining traction with developing its technology and the search to replace the current CEO had yielded two prospective candidates who were extremely well-suited to drive the company forward with a more capital efficient business model. On the other hand, Ware Street Capital and the two other investors had already invested $10 million into a company that had not performed up to investors' expectations. Would they be throwing more good money after bad by providing the bridge financing? Moreover, would other, later stage, investors be willing to provide the significant amounts of capital required to get the company to an exit event given the changing climate for clean tech investments?
    These questions became more pressing following Lerner's call that Bluelock had chosen not to continue backing Fast Ion. Was Fast Ion Battery worth saving?

    Keywords: venture capital; entrepreneurial finance; real options; term sheets; Clean Technology; Entrepreneurship; Venture Capital;


    Nanda, Ramana, and Sid Misra. "Fast Ion Battery." Harvard Business School Case 815-025, September 2014. View Details
  7. Peter Guber: The 'Me' vs. 'We' Brand

    Well-known film producer Peter Guber must decide whether to commit to a time-consuming personal project. He is about to sign a contract for a business book in which he will share what he has learned in his long career. At the same time, he is keenly aware of problems and uncertainties affecting Mandalay Entertainment, a privately-owned company in which he is principal. Mandalay produces movies and television content, owns minor league baseball teams, and is pushing into digital content. Mandalay is trying to reinvigorate its core movie and television businesses, maintain growth in the sports business, and be prepared for the opportunity to buy a major league professional sports franchise. Does Guber eliminate all personal projects and stay tightly focused on guiding his company? On the other hand, there may never be a good time to write a book. He also has to consider the potential impact of a book project on his personal brand and the Mandalay company brand.

    Keywords: X:\Greyser\Greyser-recovered\Greyser\Greyser2\Cases\Peter Guber; Work-Life Balance; Entrepreneurship; Brands and Branding; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;


    Greyser, Stephen A., William Ellet, and Nelson Gayton. "Peter Guber: The 'Me' vs. 'We' Brand." Harvard Business School Case 915-401, August 2014. View Details
  8. Husk Power

    In late 2013, Husk Power Systems found itself falling further and further behind plan. The founding CEO had decided to resign. His co-founder is faced with the decision of quitting his corporate job in the US to head to India and help form a new management team. Husk is an Indian startup founded in 2007 with the goal of global rural electrification. The company has decided to pivot from operating biomass gasification plants towards developing solar microgrids in India and East Africa.

    Keywords: Plant-Based Agribusiness; Business Model; Business Startups; Energy Generation; Renewable Energy; Social Entrepreneurship; Foreign Direct Investment; International Finance; Globalized Markets and Industries; Crime and Corruption; Employee Relationship Management; Independent Innovation and Invention; Employment; Leadership Style; Leading Change; Management Practices and Processes; Management Style; Management Succession; Management Skills; Emerging Markets; Social Psychology; Culture; Business Strategy; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; Energy Industry; Green Technology Industry; Utilities Industry; Africa; India; United States;


    Lassiter, Joseph B., III, and Sid Misra. "Husk Power." Harvard Business School Case 815-023, August 2014. (Revised October 2014.) View Details
  9. Building an Infrastructure for Empirical Research on Social Enterprise: Challenges and Opportunities

    Purpose: Despite the increase in empirical studies of social enterprise in management and organization research, the lack of a cohesive knowledge base in this area is concerning. In this chapter, we propose that the underdevelopment of the attendant research infrastructure is an important, but oft-overlooked, barrier to the development of this body of empirical research.
    Design/methodology: We explore this proposition through a review of 55 empirical studies of social enterprises published in the last 15 years, in which we examine the mix and trajectory of research methods used and the research infrastructure on which these studies depend.
    Findings: We find that empirical research has used social enterprise largely as a context for theory development, rather than deductively testing, and thus building upon, existing theories. The latter pattern is due largely to the absence of two key dimensions of infrastructure: well-defined samples and consistent, operational measures of social enterprise success. Finally, we identify present trends along both dimensions that contribute to changing the research infrastructure for empirical social enterprise research.
    Originality/value: Our analysis highlights the critical need for research infrastructure to advance empirical research on social enterprise. From this perspective, research infrastructure-building provides an important opportunity for researchers interested in social enterprise and others interested in enabling high-quality empirical research in this setting.

    Keywords: Social Entrepreneurship;


    Lee, Matthew, Julie Battilana, and Ting Wang. "Building an Infrastructure for Empirical Research on Social Enterprise: Challenges and Opportunities." In Social Entrepreneurship and Research Methods. Vol. 9, edited by Jeremy C. Short, David J. Ketchen, and Donald D. Bergh, 241–264. Research Methodology in Strategy and Management. Emerald Group Publishing, 2014. View Details
  10. Advancing Research on Hybrid Organizing—Insights from the Study of Social Enterprises

    Hybrid organizations that combine multiple organizational forms deviate from socially legitimate templates for organizing and thus experience unique organizing challenges. In this paper, we introduce and develop the concept of hybrid organizing, which we define as the activities, structures, processes, and meanings by which organizations make sense of and combine multiple organizational forms. We propose that social enterprises that combine the organizational forms of both business and charity at their cores are an ideal type of hybrid organization, making social enterprise an attractive setting to study hybrid organizing. Based on a literature review of organizational research on social enterprise and on our own research in this domain, we develop five dimensions of hybrid organizing and related opportunities for future research. We conclude by discussing how insights from the study of hybrid organizing in social enterprises may contribute to organization theory.

    Keywords: hybrid organizations; social enterprise; Organizational Structure; Social Entrepreneurship;


    Battilana, Julie, and Matthew Lee. "Advancing Research on Hybrid Organizing—Insights from the Study of Social Enterprises." Academy of Management Annals 8, no. 1 (2014): 397–441. View Details
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