It can sometimes be difficult to see impact from entrepreneurship research – not necessarily because of poor quality or lack of relevance but simply because it can take so long to disseminate findings. Publishing in peer-reviewed journals is notoriously difficult and slow – typically 18 to 24 months. So have can high quality evidence-based research be disseminated quickly? Firstly, by publishing in conference proceedings, like the one run by the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE www.isbe.org.uk) now in its 32nd year, which can take less than 6 months from abstract submission to appearing proceedings. Secondly, by self-publishing on the internet. But how can the reader be sure the research is high quality if it is not peer-reviewed?
In the end I’m afraid it comes back to ‘brand’. We develop relationships with our brands, built up over time and through establishing trust. So if you are looking for high quality entrepreneurship research why not start with the top global brand – Babson College (http://www3.babson.edu). The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is the largest and longest-standing globally focused entrepreneurship research project.
The recently published GEM 2009 Global Report’s key findings include:
1. Attitudes towards entrepreneurship vary widely across the world. Fear of failure is a significant barrier (in Japan) but some can entrepreneurs have a high status (in Denmark).
2. There is a decline the number of early-stage entrepreneurs and evidence that more existing entrepreneurs are stopping their activities.
3. In terms of creating new jobs only 14% expected to create 20 or more jobs. This might be because of increased employment protection or that successful entrepreneurs consider employment more attractive that developing their own business.
4. The impact of the recession meant that over 50% of entrepreneurs felt it was more difficult to start a new business in 2009 and that more experienced ones tended to be the most pessimistic.
5. Venture capital activity in the US and Europe fell significantly yet increased in China were funds will soon overtake those in Europe.
Now in its 11th year and with over 200 researchers involved, the project sets the standard for others – provided it continues to produce gems!