ACE Post Doc. becomes President of Galaxy!

Despite ACE being only formally 2 years old, our origins are heavily embedded in the QUT Business School where we have attracted a number of Post Doctoral Fellows to our fold.

While many go on to establish careers in Academe, some depart and head into the ‘real’ world of industry. One such example is Dr. Amanda Elam, who is now working as President and Chief Operating Officer of US based Galaxy Diagnostics.

Galaxy Diagnostics offers the most sensitive test for the detection of active Bartonella infection in patients with healthy immune systems.

Amanda came to QUT as a Postdoctoral Fellow having completed a doctorate in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has published extensively on the topic of business start-up. Her doctoral research on entrepreneurship was recognized by the Academy of Management for innovative thought leadership.

According to Galaxy’s website, “Prior to joining the Galaxy team, Dr. Elam recently completed two years of Postdoctoral Research at top-ranked schools of management and entrepreneurship, including the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia and Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.”

It’s pleasing to see our former post doc’s achieving so much. Well done Amanda.

Recent Visitors

ACE becomes a popular visiting place for Northern Hemisphere scholars over our summer period!  We are told, that it’s not just escaping from the northern hemisphere winter that makes us such an attractive place to visit!

The past three months have seen the following people visit us:

  • Sara Carter – Head of Department, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship. Associate Dean (Research Enhancement), Strathclyde Business School. Sara’s research focuses on entrepreneurship and the small firms sector. She is currently developing a new research theme which explores entrepreneurial rewards and lifestyles from a household consumption perspective. Sara has experience from editor roles at Entrepreneurship, Theory & Practice and International Small Business Journal.
  • Johan Wiklund  – Professor of Entrepreneurship, Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University. Johan’s research interests include small business growth, the decision to be self-employed, new venture creation, and corporate entrepreneurship. Johan recently was awarded recipient of 2010 IDEA Award in Research Promise from the Academy of Management’s Entrepreneurship Division for “Top Management Team Characteristics and New Venture,” (with S. Zahra).
  • Dean Shepherd – Dean is the Randall L Tobias Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership and Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. He is also an Adjunct Professor of QUT Businesses School where he closely works with The Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research. Dean is an Australian who received his PhD from Bond University, and is now one of the most published and sought after entrepreneurship researchers in the world. He is also the editor of one of the leading scholarly journals in the entrepreneurship field, the Journal of Business Venturing.
  • Martin Senderovitz – is Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Denmark. The primary research interests are entrepreneurial management, bricolage, effectuation and causation, strategic thinking and management of growth in SMEs and gazelles. Martin has more than ten years experience of teaching/lecturing in Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Organisational Behaviour and Business Negotiation. Eight years of professional experience from the international shipping business and international consultancy work within curriculum development, teacher training and business consultancy in Denmark, Russia, Latvia, Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine.
  • Kim Klyver – Since received his Ph.D. in 2005 Kim has worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship at Swinburne University of Technology (Australia) from 2006 to 2007, and as postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University in 2009. He is now a Professor in Entrepreneurship at University of Southern Denmark. Kim has been a member of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) project since 2000 and has been part of both the Australian national team and the Danish national team. He has more than 90 publications and has published intensively in international peer-reviewed journals. He has won several awards for his research. Kim’s main interests are entrepreneurial networks, nascent entrepreneurship, women entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship policy, and growth.
  • Helene Ahl is professor of Business Administration at the School of Education and Communication at Jönköping University, Sweden. She is internationally known for her research on women’s entrepreneurship, having studied it from many different perspectives – research, policy, and practice. Her current project is a theoretical one – how to understand entrepreneurship from a feminist theoretical perspective and vice versa. These fields have their origins in different sorts of problems and understand reality in different ways, but today’s policy makers often draw on one to legitimate the other, with sometimes confusing results. Ahl has also researched issues such as motivation and empowerment in the context of adult learning. She is currently the research director for Encell, the National Centre for Lifelong Learning in Sweden.
  • Jeroen Kraaijenbrink is assistant professor at The Netherlands Institute for Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship (NIKOS) at the University of Twente, The Netherlands. He is also research manager of the high-tech incubator program VentureLab Twente. He holds an MSc and a PhD in Industrial Engineering and Management and an MSc in Public Administration from the University of Twente. Jeroen Kraaijenbrink has co-edited a book on knowledge management for small and medium-sized enterprises and has published internationally in various books and journals including Technological Forecasting & Social Change, Knowledge Management Research & Practice, Journal of Product Innovation Management, and Journal of Management.
  • Alicia Robb is a Senior Research Fellow with the Kauffman Foundation, a Research Associate with the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a Visiting Scholar with both the Center for European Economic Research (Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung (ZEW)) in Mannheim, Germany and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Her main research interests are entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial finance, and entrepreneurship by women and minorities, and entrepreneurship in emerging markets. Dr. Robb received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has previously worked as a staff economist for an economic consulting firm and as an economist for the Office of Economic Research in the Small Business Administration and for the Division of Research and Statistics at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. In addition to numerous journal articles and book chapters, she is the co-author of Race and Entrepreneurial Success published by MIT Press and is currently working on her second book on entrepreneurial finance and women-owned businesses for Stanford University Press.

2012 ACERE Conference Wrap-up

ACE hosted the international Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange (ACERE) in Fremantle late January.

This year the conference was held in conjunction with the DIANA Project, providing participants with a wider range of conference streams. The conference was hosted at the University of Notre Dame, where the campus, integrated with the City of Fremantle provided a perfect background for 4 days of conference activities.

Key note addresses were given by Dr Patricia Green Co-Founder of the Diana Project, Centre for Women’s Business Research Board Member, IC2 Fellow, University of Texas Austin, and Professor Dean Shepard, Randall L Tobias Chair in Leadership, Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University USA.

With over 92 papers presented at the conference covering a wide range of subject streams valuable discussion, debate and learning was achieved. Additionally, an Entrepreneurship and SME Policy Forum was held, along with a Doctoral Consortium / Paper Development Workshop.

The 2013 ACERE conference will be hosted at QUT from the 6th to 8th of February 2013. Register now at the conference website:


Indigenous Entrepreneurship

ACE is currently working on establishing a number of projects related to indigenous entrepreneurship. These projects are still in early development and we welcome any early interest from you in helping is support the development of these projects. Associate Professor Paul Steffens in leading this research.

It seems to us that the growth, development and support of Indigenous businesses is another important area that deserves concentrated attention. Whilst there is significant focus on the creation of jobs, perhaps there is also an opportunity to focus on the establishment of businesses owned, run and employing indigenous people?

We welcome your comments and support on this area. Please contact Paul directly if you have any interest in working with us in this area. He can be emailed at

Balanced Skills – Effects and Origins

Founding a new venture is not easy. Surviving the first few years and eventually growing a business is an equally demanding task. In order to successfully run a business, entrepreneurs must be competent in a number of skills given that they have to combine different resources such as physical and financial capital, people and ideas. According to this line of reasoning entrepreneurs should have balanced skills  – in other words entrepreneurs should be a “Jack-of-all-Trades”. But just how big is the effect of balanced skills on engaging, persisting and excelling in entrepreneurship? Furthermore what are the origins of a balanced skill set?

ACE’s series of research vignettes is aimed at sharing current and interesting research findings from our team of international Entrepreneurship researchers. In this vignette, post-doctoral research fellow Michael Stuetzer considers the effects and origins of balanced skills.

Download it from here

Directors Message – April 2012

Welcome to April Newsletter from The Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research (ACE)!  The activities and events of the first quarter of this year highlights further steps towards fulfilling ACE’s two missions: 1) to sustain our position as leading in Australia and highly recognised internationally as a leading producer of entrepreneurship research, and 2) to be a major hub for making entrepreneurship research accessible and useful to practitioners.

We ended 2011 with a very successful Paper Development Bootcamp that always provides a fantastic opportunity for getting research papers in shape for publication in prestigious scholarly journals. Our first year of hosting the renamed AGSE conference, now called ACERE (Australian Centre of Entrepreneurship Research Exchange), occurred early February. From all accounts it was a resounding success. As always a large number of international researchers like to call ACE their base in the early part of the year! This year has been no exception – we have had several international visitors, which provides fantastic opportunities for collaboration and sharing of ideas. We have also had a number of our team achieve some great successes, and recognition. Recently released reports on female Entrepreneurship in Australia have received reasonable levels of media interest, as did our recent practitioner-orientated seminar by Dean Shepherd on Learning from Failure. As regards making research accessible and useful to practitioners we are also working with the federal Department of Innovation (DIISRTE) on producing policy reports from the CAUSEE project. Many of these stories are covered in this newsletter.

April marks the start of a deliberate use of social media and the web to ensure that more people, than simply our academic colleagues, are able to get access to the great scholarly research that both us and all our colleagues, no matter where they are do. We encourage you to widely share our blog, our website and follow us on twitter @qutace.

We would value your feedback and suggestions.

ACERE 2013 – Brisbane 6 – 8 February 2013

ACERE is the annual, Australian-based research conference dedicated to entrepreneurship.

Held in February each year – the summer break in the southern hemisphere and a particularly good time to escape cold weather conditions for our northern hemisphere colleagues – the conference welcomes researchers and research users from Australia and all over the world.

The name ACERE means “Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange” which also provides continuity with its predecessor, the AGSE International Research Exchange, which was run for eight years by Swinburne University.

The conference provides a vibrant and thought provoking opportunity for scholars, researchers, policy makers and industry practitioners to come together to share leading research in the field of entrepreneurship.

Attendees will include

  • Leading entrepreneurship academics from Australia and around the world.
  • Early career academics and researchers specialising in entrepreneurship.
  • Entrepreneurship practitioners, especially policy makers and assistance organisations.

Register your interest at

BDO Report: Service 2020: Megatrends for the Decade Ahead

BDO Australia, one of the ACE CAUSEE sponsors has been releasing a series of reports looking at Megatrends for the Decade Ahead. Details of these can be found at their website.

‘Service 2020’ is an Economist Intelligence Unit report, commissioned and sponsored by BDO. The report captures the views of 479 business leaders. Covering business-to-business and business-to-consumer models, the report explores how successful organisations have built and subsequently sustained excellent client service and, most excitingly, provides a blueprint for the prioritisation of service development opportunities.

The research findings fall into eight megatrends which will define service in the future.

  1. Global competition will drive up service standards
  2. Companies must maintain service standards in the face of the need for speed
  3. Organisations must learn to use the increased transparency brought by social media to their advantage
  4. Companies must use new sources and types of data to rethink the way they track and personalise their service
  5. Good employees will remain fundamental to good service but with technology as an enabler
  6. More organisations will outsource aspects of customer service to new kinds of specialists
  7. The rise of the mass affluent and other customer segments will force companies to find new product or service niches
  8. Customer expectations, including the purpose of the store, are evolving with new technology

If you would like to receive each of the megatrends as they are published, please email BDO at


International Research Shows Australian Women Lead the Way in Businesses

New research paints a rosy picture of the state of entrepreneurship in Australia, and points to Australian women as being the most entrepreneurial in the world.

The research, compiled by the Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship (ACE) in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), indicates that last year 10 per cent of the Australian adult population was involved in setting up or owning newly-founded businesses.

ACE Associate Professor Paul Steffens said Australia was second only to the United States in this regard.

“Out of the 23 developed countries surveyed, the US came up trumps with just over 12 per cent with Australia a close second at 10.5 per cent. Even more encouraging is that fewer of these new Australian businesses were born out of necessity – 15 per cent – compared with more than 21 per cent for the US,” he said.

“This is very encouraging and indicates that Australia has been weathering the global financial crisis well.

“Most new businesses started to take advantage of a perceived lucrative business opportunity with only about a fifth started out of a lack of alternative options for work.

“This is significant because it points to a culture of genuine innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Professor Steffens said 19 per cent of those 2000 businesses surveyed intended to grow their businesses and employ more staff over the next five years.

“This sort of optimism places Australia higher than average when compared with other developed economies,” he said.

He said the research results were particularly interesting in relation to women in business.

“With 7.8 per cent of adult women involved in setting up a new business or owning newly founded businesses, Australia ranks number one among developed economies.

“What’s interesting too is that Australia is the only developed economy where men and women are participating virtually equally in this endeavour.

“Australian women put their stronger than average success in new business ventures down to their skills levels and the high media attention for entrepreneurship in Australia which provides them with successful role models.”

Professor Steffens said while having 500,000 women entrepreneurs painted a healthy picture of access to business opportunities for Australian women, businesswomen were still under-represented in the workforce in growth-oriented industries such as mining, manufacturing, finance and IT and this probably accounted for their propensity to start new businesses in service industries.

“Having more women training and employed in these traditionally male-dominated industries would have a significant positive impact on the creation of additional business opportunities for women,” he said.

“The research also shows that while more male entrepreneurs were intending to export their products or services over the next five years, both male and female Australian entrepreneurs were lagging behind the international surveyed average on this account.”

For more information access the GEM 2011 Global Report and the GEM 2010 Women’s Report.

Learning From Failure

The following story appeared in Brisbane’s Courier Mail Newspaper on April 2nd 2012. Written by Rob Kidd, the article was based on a seminar that Dean Shepherd presented for ACE on March 28th, and a subsequent interview.

FAILURE in some aspect of business is as inevitable as the taxman making his monthly mark on your payslip.

But, according to one expert, it needn’t be as depressing.

Dean Shepherd, an Australian who is professor of entrepreneurship at Indiana University in the US and an adjunct professor at QUT Business School, believes valuable lessons should be learned from failed ventures and even individual projects.

“Entrepreneurship is about the pursuit of opportunity. Opportunity only exists in environments of uncertainty, so if we’re pursuing opportunities there’s a high likelihood we’re going to get it wrong and fail,” he said.

“The assumption has always been that you can learn from failure and it will be automatic and instantaneous. (But) that negative emotional element impacts our ability to learn.”

Research from QUT’s The Comprehensive Australian Study of Entrepreneurial Emergence research project (CAUSEE), focusing on about 800 emerging business start-ups, found about half failed within two years.

However, only 12.9 per cent of those involved considered the failure a “negative” experience.

Mr Shepherd, whose own research was inspired by seeing his father’s family business collapse, sees failure as an “integral part of innovation”, and says people should be encouraged to have a go.

“Being wrong is just part of being an entrepreneur. You can’t be an entrepreneur or an innovative company and only hit winners,” he said.

A more extreme method companies used for analysing a failed project was holding a “funeral” or “post-mortem”, Mr Shepherd said.

“They’ll send out an invitation to the wake – it’s a chance for people to get together to say the project is dead, to reminisce about the good times, perhaps to console each other but perhaps also to send the message that it’s time to move on.”

Organisations, he said, would benefit from adopting an “anti-failure bias”.

“In other words, they pursue many projects realising that some are going to fail. But by doing that their mean performance actually increases, so the organisation as a whole performs well,” Mr Shepherd said.

“It’s not a bad thing for a society if we have a lot of failed businesses. What’s bad is if we penalise or stigmatise them so even if they’re in the best position to learn, they never try again.”