South Australia's entrepreneurial ecosystem case studies

Allan O'Connor, Gerard Reed

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    The South Australian Department of State Development sponsored this work as a means to better understand the entrepreneur’s role and contribution towards economic development. The research was designed to gain a clearer understanding of how well South Australia and Adelaide, as a City of Entrepreneurs, functioned as an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The case studies included in this volume arise from a research project designed to capture ‘customer’ insight, as part of building a body of knowledge about entrepreneurial activity in the state of SA and understanding Adelaide’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (AEE).The research set out to ascertain the nature of the AEE and in particular to listen to the voices of its customers. The participant cases that follow were all originally participants in a series of focus groups. Focus group participation was entirely voluntary and there was no obligation placed on any participant to be included or answer any questions that made them feel uncomfortable. The names of the focus group participant members are confidential and no individuals or organisations are named within the findings of the research (see the full ‘Voice of the Customer report) without explicit participant permission. The case participants included in this volume were chosen specifically to illustrate a diversity of entrepreneurial profiles as examples of the how the AEE was activated and each case has granted their express permission to the publication of their case.Entrepreneurial Adelaide is a movement within the city of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia which runs under a working title of ‘Towards a City of Entrepreneurs – The Emergence of Adelaide as a Recognised Startup Community’(Daly, 2013). It owes its genesis to a catalytic question posed within a discussion between two people at one of the many entrepreneurial events and activities being run around Adelaide in December, 2012. That question asked: ‘[with] so much happening to support entrepreneurship in Adelaide, how … do you keep track of it?’The question inspired Paul Daly to adopt a self-directed research project to pursue an answer and an understanding of what he and others had also wondered. Subsequently, a meeting was held on the 4th of January 2013 with seven out of the ten invitees from theentrepreneurial community in Adelaide attending the meeting. Preliminary research into the programs that supported entrepreneurial activity in Adelaide was tabled at this meeting that represented four categories of entrepreneurship support in Adelaide. The meeting participants developed this further adding programs and using coloured ‘sticky notes’ with yellow to denote ‘Education Programs’, pink for ‘Networking Programs and Events’, blue for ‘Incubators, Accelerators, and Co-Working Spaces’, and green was used to identify ‘Government Support Programs and Investors’. This mapping exercise was the first iteration of what has now become known as the map of the Adelaide Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (AEE).The lack of a device to interpret the landscape of an entrepreneurial ecosystem, in this case within the context of the city of Adelaide and its environs in the state of South Australia, was perhaps indicative of the very nature of an ecosystem. This is due, in part, to the fact that the constituent contributors of an ecosystem (Hwang & Horowitt, 2012), being participants, elements or subsections, are not always equipped with the ability to view the ecosystem in its entirety. Hence broader consultation followed.Further meetings were held with working groups being established on five topic areas, namely; Ecosystem Governance, Marketing and Communications, Early-stage Funding, Education, and Social Media and the Internet. This approach to identifying the programs of support for South Australia’s entrepreneurs in Adelaide and environs was adopted for our purposes as the bounds of Adelaide’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Throughout the interviews we probed the origins of each of the ventures and sought to understand at what point in the development of each of the businesses intersected with the programs identified on the AEE map. In doing so, we created a Critical Events and Phases Profile for each Case Study that illustrates the development steps of the business. Each case concludes with its respective profile.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherSouth Australia Department of State Development
    Commissioning bodySA Department of State Development
    Number of pages42
    Publication statusSubmitted - 2017

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    O'Connor, A., & Reed, G. (2017). South Australia's entrepreneurial ecosystem case studies. South Australia Department of State Development.