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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Entrepreneurship & Regional Development

For a Special Issue on
Resilience and Digital Entrepreneurship

Abstract deadline
01 February 2022

Manuscript deadline
01 April 2022

Cover image - Entrepreneurship & Regional Development

Special Issue Editor(s)

David B. Audretsch, Indiana University Bloomington, USA
[email protected]

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Resilience and Digital Entrepreneurship

Guest Editors:

David B. Audretsch, Indiana University Bloomington, USA

Maksim Belitski, University of Reading, UK; ICD Business School, France

Rosa Caiazza, Parthenope University of Naples, Italy

Mark Drapeau, Catalyst Research, USA

Matthias Menter, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany

William Wales, University of Albany- SUNY, USA

The role of new digital technologies and platform-based firms that are shaping entrepreneurship activity (Bi et al., 2017; Giones and Brem, 2017; Nambisan et al. 2017; Kenney and Zysman, 2020) and reducing the impact of exogenous shocks on entrepreneurs (Digitally Driven, 2021) is a growing research agenda. Recent research in entrepreneurship and innovation shows that technology empowers firms at different stages of their growth continuum (Li et al., 2016; Autio et al., 2018) and enables firms of different sizes and types to resist external shocks (Bartik et al. 2020). The extant literature in entrepreneurship and regional development has also demonstrated that large and small firm's abilities to innovate and grow are linked up to firm-specific characteristics as well regional and institutional context (Aslesen, Martin and Sardo, 2019; Welter et al. 2019; Savic, Smith and Bournakis, 2020; Audretsch et al. 2021). However, how, when, and under what conditions digital technology can support entrepreneurs, small and large firms at different stages of their growth continuum are much less clear (Caiazza et al. 2019).

This Special issue is also the story of small business resilience that demonstrates the path companies took before and during COVID-19 in adopting digital technologies to retain their customers, change business models and create resilient societies and regions.

At the center of our special issue is the clear presence and value of digital technologies equipping entrepreneurial ventures and regions with digital infrastructure and digital tools (Digitally Driven, 2020, 2021). Digital entrepreneurship spills over to other businesses enabling to recover faster from the pandemic and become more resilient (Elia et al. 2020; Ryan et al. 2020; Iacobucci and Perugini, 2021).

New digital technologies that can support these different stages of firm growth are not always the same (Cutolo and Kenney, 2019). For example, investments in tools such as business analytics, social media technology, mobile applications and development, cloud computing, the internet of things, machine learning, blockchain, and artificial intelligence vary widely across industries and regions where entrepreneurs aim to start their business. New technologies relevant at earlier and later stages of entrepreneurship can help us unpack the black box of a variety of entrepreneurship (Caiazza et al. 2019) and the conduits entrepreneurs use to create and transfer economic value (Acs et al., 2013).

Heterogeneity, both in the digital technology and in entrepreneurship outcomes, invalidates a "one-size-fits-all" approach to understanding the relationship and emerges as a thought provoking research agenda (Nambisan et al., 2017). The ability to use digital technologies to commercialize new ideas and growth will increase both economic and societal value creation in regions and communities. Given that "entrepreneurship" itself is a heterogeneous phenomenon, there may be different responses ad ways to adopt them by economic agents and society (Audretsch et al., 2017).

Thus, the special issue further expands our understanding of entrepreneurial ventures (Huggins et al. 2015) in finding their footing and highlights how digital entrepreneurship can increase preparedness and, in the worst of times, improve business results and even survival rates. This is particularly true for some underserved small business owners, for whom digital tools helped fill a gap when resources from regional governments were absent or highly limited (e.g. Brazilian, Indian regions) (Farlie. 2020; Fairlie and Fossen, 2021).

This special issue also represents a unique opportunity to build a novel theory that provides an updated theoretical view of the role of regional and institutional factors in digital entrepreneurship and resilience (e.g., re-conceptualization, review missions, review business models, review metrics, review of levels of resilience). It will inform practitioners, regional policymakers, and scholars about how the regional context can transform core entrepreneurial activities (Savic, Smith, Bournakis, 2020) by adopting new technologies and business models that promote the development and adoption of digital tools.

Objectives and Relevance 

The objective of this special issue is to encourage an in-depth multidisciplinary conversation within the entrepreneurship community (entrepreneurship, technology, sociology, regional studies, economics, geography, health, and others) from different socio-economic settings to make both theoretical and empirical contributions to the proposed topics/themes/questions.

First, we need to understanding why and how new digital technologies facilitate the interaction between economic agents/actors, connecting the academic rigor with practical evidence (Laveren, Blackburn, Hytti, & Landström, 2019).

Second, how technological change facilitates entrepreneurial, innovation, and social outputs along the entrepreneurial journey. In doing so, this special issue aims to unpack a nuanced relationship between the diversity of digital technologies and a variety of small businesses going beyond what is known as a binary treatment of entrepreneurship, i.e., one is an entrepreneur, or one is not. A comparative analysis of the role of digital technology (Kenney and Zysman, 2020) at different stages of entrepreneurship and across regions with different levels of economic development (Schölin, Ohlsson, and Broomé 2017) is needed.

This will provide more nuanced knowledge for both managers and policymakers in the core and peripheral regions (Galbraith, McAdam, Woods, and McGowan. 2017) to target specific entrepreneurial outcomes more effectively and to level off resource availability and technological conditions across regions at different levels of economic development to create value for society and entrepreneurs.

The contributions to the subject will yield seminal findings, which will have profound implications for a wide range of stakeholders, including technology and entrepreneurship scholars, managers, policymakers, and regions. The special focus on the locus of regional impact may use different units of analysis (e.g. districts within a metropolitan area, to core cities, larger urban zones, regions) (Stuetzer et al. 2018) to demonstrate how adopting new digital tools and developing digital capabilities, eskills (Audretsch and Belitski, 2021) can facilitate the performance of entrepreneurs of different types.

This special issue welcomes theoretical and empirical contributions, using qualitative or quantitative methods, and either a micro, meso or macro-level analysis in the following areas:

  • How, when, and which digital technology can support small businesses at different stages of their growth continuum?
  • How can digital technologies help small businesses to leverage the grand societal challenges?
  • Does the adoption of technologies influence small businesses and their innovation strategy for greater organizational and regional resilience?
  • Does the adoption of digital techs and tools impact entrepreneurs' relationships with intermediary organizations (e.g., incubators, accelerators, government)? Empirical and theoretical research of technology adoption at different stages of the entrepreneurship lifecycle.
  • What is the role of digital technologies (social media, big data, internet of things, neural networks, blockchain, artificial intelligence) in creating economic and societal value, enhancing regional resilience?
  • What is the role of region-specific technology policies and their impact on growth-oriented and high-quality entrepreneurship?
  • What are the societal and economic implications of using digital tools as increasing both economic and societal value is created differently through the utilization of new digital technologies?
  • What are the future perspectives on digital technology development for start-ups and growth-oriented firms post-Covid-19?
  • Do digital technologies influence knowledge spillovers and knowledge collaboration between entrepreneurs, corporates, and government in their impact on entrepreneurial ecosystems?
  • What is the role of open innovation and the adoption of digital technologies in enhancing regional resilience?

These research topics will significantly advance entrepreneurship and regional development scholarship by integrating the technology innovation context where supporting entrepreneurs to grow and innovate has become a principal factor in policy discourse. Practically, they will also help entrepreneurs, policymakers, and managers to identify technological solutions to entrepreneurial value creation and capture.

Submission Instructions

First Hybrid Paper Development Workshop (PDW): 12-13 November 2021 (the call for this can be viewed here. All submissions to PDW should be emailed to Maksim Belitski [email protected])

Extended abstract submission: February 1st, 2022 (abstract submissions should be emailed to Maksim Belitski [email protected])

Full paper submission (only the selected extended abstracts): April 1st , 2022

First R&R paper submission: August 15th, 2022

Second Hybrid Paper Development Workshop (PDW): November 2022

Full paper submission (selected papers from PDW): December 2022

Second R&R paper submissionMarch 15th, 2023

Follow-ups R&R paper submission: June 1st, 2023

Final decision: September, 2023

Tentative online publication: November-December 2023

Extended abstract submission: The extended abstract submission include no more than five-page (1500 words), and this abstract should be sent by e-mail to ALL guest editors indicating in the subject “SI ERD: Resilience and  Digital Entrepreneurship”. Then, the selected abstracts will be invited to continue the editorial process and submit the full manuscripts following the ERD submission guidelines.

Hybrid PDW: The hybrid (virtual and in person) PDWs will enable you to meet journal’s editor in chief and senior editors, SI guest editors, practitioners, and potential authors to understand better the SI aim that allows re-thinking and fitting their contributions to the SI academic conversation. In this view, the workshop’s participation is not compulsory for submitting the revised paper, as well as it does not guarantee the publication of the papers in the SI. The First PDW will be hosted jointly by Indiana University Europe Gateway in Berlin, Germany, University at Albany (SUNY) (School of Business Management) and University of Reading (Henley Business School) and will be organized on 12-13 November 2021in person at Indiana University in Berlin and virtually via ZOOM. The full details will be announced to the selected extended abstracts. You can view the call for the first PDW here.

The second PDW will be organized on November 2022 in person ad by zoom (location TBC). The full details will be announced to the selected extended abstracts.

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