Identifying entrepreneurship research priorities

“Entrepreneurship is a complex, inherently multidisciplinary field,” Peter Komives began his article, User-Based Methods for Identifying Entrepreneurship Research Priorities, written on Komives is the Director, Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN).

Continuing, he said: “As such, there is often little consensus about priorities within the broader entrepreneurship research community.”

But how do researchers know or identify what they should they should focus their research on in the “multidisciplinary field” of entrepreneurship? Or what to give priorities to or to ignore for the time being?

There is no straightforward answer to this very tricky question. However, research focus, as this reporter has found, is largely based on the researchers’ interest.

Over the years though, there have been several researches that have helped answer some questions on what is most important to entrepreneurs, the roles of goverment in entrepreneurship development, what are the positions of women in global entrepreneurship, and so on.

These researches have been academic, which some have found issues with. from their perspectuve, “the right question from an academic perspective often does not provide the answer that practitioners and policymakers are urgently looking to apply in their work.”

But then, who determines the right questions to ask, from an academic and non-academic questions perspectives? Shouldn’t that role be left to reseachers to determine? Again, there are no easy answers to this question.

However, as entrepreneurship research continues to develop, evolve, and grow, one thing is certain, for evolution in the entrepreneurship field to be properly implemented, there is a need for a research-based data that supports claims in the entrepreneurship/start-up spaces across the world. Therefore, there is the need for collaborative efforts to increase the pool of researchers across the world, and especially in Africa, as the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Chair, Jonathan Ortmans in a 2015 interview with this reporter, put it.

He had called for “research-based data” in the field, to guide against what he called  “promoting myths,” based on assumptions, they have decided that to deploy the expertise of policy makers and qualified academic researcher to help come up with accurate data to back up any claims in the back-up space.

Thus, Global Entrepreneurship Research Network (GERN), which brings together research organisations with a keen interest in bolstering the body of research and data available to help build healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems.

GERN co-chair, Amisha Miller, was recently quoted in Komives’ article to have noted that an important goal for GERN is to “find ways to broaden the space and the experts involved in entrepreneurship studies.”

To develop new testable theories, she suggested “involving people from other disciplines – anthropology, ethnography, natural sciences, etc” in entrepreneurship research, who according to Komives, “have not traditionally applied their perspective to entrepreneurship.”

The beauty of having research in the entrepreneurship space is that, according to  Ortmans, GERN co-chair, is that it point out things that are less effective in the start-ups space, which will be highly beneficial for the African start-up space, which hopefully, will help governments and/or private organisations that fund programmes to steer clear programs that have less impact.