Foundations and Trends® in Entrepreneurship > Vol 5 > Issue 4

Regional Dimensions of Entrepreneurship

By Rolf Sternberg, University of Hannover, Germany,

Suggested Citation
Rolf Sternberg (2009), "Regional Dimensions of Entrepreneurship", Foundations and Trends® in Entrepreneurship: Vol. 5: No. 4, pp 211-340.

Publication Date: 20 May 2009
© 2009 R. Sternberg
Small business and economic growth
Spatial economicsGeographyRegional economicsEntrepreneurship

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In this article:
1 Introduction 
2 Conceptualization of Entrepreneurship and Availability of Empirical Data 
3 Why a "Regional Event?" — Theoretical Foundations 
4 To What Extent a "Regional Event?" — Empirical Evidence 
5 Can Government In.uence This "Regional Event?" — Policy Implications 
6 Conclusions 


It was Maryann Feldman who first characterized entrepreneurship as a predominantly "regional event." While the spatial, or more specifically, the regional perspective has long been ignored by entrepreneurship research, this changed in recent years. Globalization and regionalization (as two sides of the same coin), the new role of small firms in general for regional growth, and the increasing relevance of entrepreneurship policies drew several researchers' attention to the regional causes and consequences of entrepreneurial activities.

This review assesses several theoretical arguments supporting the idea that entrepreneurial activities as well as entrepreneurial success (measured, for example, in terms of survival rates) are influenced in many cases by the attributes of the region (defined as a sub-national spatial unit) where the potential founder and the real founder of a firm was or actually is located. While there are still significant gaps in research in terms of adequate regional theories of entrepreneurship, a great number of empirical studies have been undertaken in the past decade to explore the interdependent relationship between regional environment on the one hand and entrepreneurial activities and success on the other. The results are quite heterogeneous, as are the environments between regions within and especially between countries. However, it is rather clear now that the regional environment as an important context variable must not be ignored any further when exploring the determinants of firm creation and of new-firm growth.

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Table of contents:
1. Introduction
2. Conceptualization of entrepreneurship and availability of empirical data
3. Why a "regional event"? - Theoretical foundations
4. To what extent a "regional event"? - Empirical evidence
5. Can government influence this "regional event"? - Policy implications
6. Conclusions

Regional Dimension of Entrepreneurship

Regional Dimensions of Entrepreneurship reviews the theoretical arguments supporting the idea that entrepreneurial activities and entrepreneurial success are influenced by the attributes of the region where the potential founder and the real founder of a firm was or actually is located. The author explains that the regional environment is an important context variable and cannot be ignored when exploring the determinants of firm creation and of new firm growth. Regional Dimensions of Entrepreneurship consists of the theoretical foundations, empirical evidence and policy implications for the importance of regional issues. Finally, the author provides an overview of the literature on regional entrepreneurship, covering as many countries and sub-national regions as possible, with a certain focus on Western Europe and North America due in part to the particularly large quantity of empirical research on regional entrepreneurship and regionally focused entrepreneurship policies in these areas.