ACE GEM Research published as an opinion piece with CNN

 ACE’s recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report received media coverage with CNN last week.  Here is the opinion piece by Associate Professor Paul Steffens, deputy director of ACE:



Essentially the report outlines Australia’s impressive recent entrepreneurial performance.  The full  report can be found here: 

GEM Report

What is GEM

In 2011, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) study was conducted across 54 countries. Over 140,000 adults aged between 18 and 64, including 2,000 in Australia were interviewed. GEM differs from other studies in that by surveying the adult population, it identifies entrepreneurs at the very earliest stages of new business creation.


  • Australia’s entrepreneurship rate is second only to the USA amongst developed countries
  • We estimate that 10.5% of the Australian adult population were actively engaged in starting and running new businesses in 2011. This equates to 1.48 million early-stage entrepreneurs
  • Of the estimated 1.48 million early-stage entrepreneurs:

      *   40% or 590,000 were women

      *   33% or 580,000 expected to creates at least 5 new jobs in the next 5 years

      *   11% or 170,000 expected to create 20 or more new jobs in the next 5 years

  • Australia also ranks above average for employee entrepreneurial activity in established firms. An estimated 5.0% of the adult population is engaged in developing or launching new products, a new business unit or subsidiary for their employer.
  • Australia was one of only three developed countries, together with the US and Netherlands, that ranked above average for both entrepreneurship rate and employee entrepreneurial activity
  • Australia outperforms most other developed economies on indicators of the quality and economic impact of its business start-ups, including growth aspirations, number of opportunity-driven start-ups and innovativeness
  • The vast majority of start-ups in Australia are founded based on a desire to take advantage of perceived opportunities with only 1 in 5 new ventures started through necessity –
  • While the global economic slowdown (GFC) clearly increased the level of necessity driven entrepreneurship in Australia, this increase is not as strong as that experienced in the USA.
  • Approximately 50% of the Australians believe that good opportunities exist for the establishment of new ventures, and that they possess the skills to start a business. This is well above international averages.
  • International orientation is below average for Australian early state entrepreneurs, most likely due to the geographic distance to international markets
  • Australian entrepreneurship is comparatively inclusive. For example, at 8.4% the female total entrepreneurial activity is second only to the USA.


Design Thinking Workshop with Deloittes

This interactive workshop, hosted by one of the world’s largest service firms, will explore Design Thinking and how it is used to innovate both internally and externally. 

Participants will get a practical insight into the leading-edge thinking approaches used by Deloitte to remain competitive in an evolving market, and establish themselves as one of Australia’s leading consulting firms.  

Thursday October 11 – QUT Gardens Point Campus
For more information please contact QUT Innovations Space  or Register Here


An oldie but a goodie – Paul Steffens’s paper hits SSRN top 10 list

A very old paper – in fact, dating back to my first ever publication during my PhD – seems to be making at least some impact.

The paper, “A Mathematical Model for New Product Diffusion: The Influence of Innovators and Imitators”, published in Mathematical and Computer Modelling, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 11-26, 1992. The paper proposes an alternative to the famous Bass (1969) model of diffusion, and finds some empirical support. It has made the top 10 on SSRN (Social Science Research Network) Innovation and Microeconomics.

A lesson for young scholars – I probably wasted this half decent paper in a “nothing journal”. It has only a handful of citations (15 on Google scholar).  Inexperienced, I was approached by the editor at a conference and agreed to submit.  These days, of journal ranking (even if they have officially disappeared now) and ERA, I would probably not make the same mistake.

Top Ten Lists are updated on a daily basis. Click the following link(s) to view the Top Ten list for:

IRPN: Innovation & Microeconomics (Topic) Top Ten.

Paul Steffens



Prestigious Award Goes To ACE Director

At the recent Academy of Management conference in Boston, ACE Director Per Davidsson was presented with the Entrepreneurship Division’s Award for “Best Conceptual Paper”. This was in competition with 613 papers submitted to the conference, approximately a third of which were conceptual – that is, idea developing rather than fact finding – papers. The Award comes with a plaque and a cheque for $1,500. Based on ratings by three reviewers a shortlist of papers was sent to the Division’s Research Committee, which decided on the winner. Following standard academic protocol, neither reviewers nor Research Committee members knew who authored the nominated papers.

The awarded paper is entitled “Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneurship Nexus: A Re-Conceptualization”. It builds on an influential forerunner published 12 years ago and seeks to stake out a more fruitful way for future entrepreneurship research to disentangle how characteristics of the entrepreneur(s), the venture idea they are working on, and the fit between the two influences subsequent action and outcomes.  (To request a copy of this paper from the author please email

The 20,000 member strong Academy of Management is the largest and most important association for management scholars in the world. Each year, its annual conference gathers some 7-8,000 leading researchers from all over the world. In the last decade, the Entrepreneurship Division – for which Per has previously been the elected Chair – has grown to become one of the largest and most dynamic in the Academy.

Start-up fund established for creative businesses

Creative industries’ entrepreneurs can apply for up to $150,000 to launch their business idea thanks to an Australia-first start-up fund announced at the Creative³ Forum.

The QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) Investment Fund will draw on private sector investment as well as additional revenue from CEA to fast-track new businesses across design, fashion, animation, entertainment industries, music, architecture and visual arts.

QUT CEA chief executive officer Anna Rooke said the investment fund, which will open to applications by mid 2013, would focus on high-growth creative businesses that need up to $150,000 to get started.

“Early stage investment is the No.1 barrier to innovation in Australia for the creative industries,” Ms Rooke said.

“The sector is seen to be ‘too risky’ by banks, angel investors and venture capital capitalists and it’s our belief at CEA that this is fundamental market failure in Australia.

“If you’re in film, fashion or design, for example, how do you get your foot in the door?”

Ms Rooke said businesses would have to demonstrate to QUT CEA and other investors an expected return within three to five years.

“It will be the first dedicated CEA Investment Fund in Australia which is solely focused on creative industries business deals and is open to any high-growth creative commercial venture,” she said.

“We understand and believe in Australian creative talent and commercial opportunities.”

Ms Rooke said the start-up fund strengthened CEA’s role over the last five years as a “creative incubator” in Australia.

CEA has worked with entrepreneurs and helped to support commercial business opportunities across the creative industries in areas such as film and television, new media, music, and fashion and design.

The two-day Creative³ Forum, from September 13 to 14 at QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct at Kelvin Grove, included international guest speakers such as business innovation expert Patrick van der Pijl, YouTube Asia’s Jean Huang Lundgren and Vince Bannon from Getty Images.

Director and choreographer Meryl Tankard and jazz musician James Morrison featured in a conversation at Creative³ in partnership with Brisbane Festival.

Event details are available at

2012 Academy of Management Conference

From August 3 to 7, the Academy of Management Annual Meetings took place in Boston (US). Generally regarded as the premier conference in the field of management science, it attracted thousands of management scholars to flock to Boston and present their work, attend professional development workshops, and network with their peers. Among the many thousands were ACE representatives Prof Per Davidsson, Dr Judy Matthews, Dr Henri Burgers, secret that Australian Dr Rene Bakker, and Julienne Senyard. In this blog entry, Rene Bakker will list some of his experiences (with thanks to Julienne Senyard for contributing photos).

It is no academics tend to travel long distances to attend academic conferences – often held in Europe and the US. The Academy of Management (AoM) is, unfortunately, no exception and included almost 24 hours of travel from Brisbane, through Los Angeles, to Boston. The amount of hours one thus spends sitting in an airplane allows for some serious thinking time. On the way back, this allowed to summarize and structure some of the AoM experience and takeaways.

The AoM experience can be daunting. It’s so big, and so diverse, that one can run a risk of drowning in the experience. Many academics seem to remember their first AoM with a weird mix of anxiety (that one felt at the time), nostalgia (because obviously everything was better then), and pride (for having come out alive). However, while one might not anticipate an American talent for organization from the chaos in the customs areas of their airports, AoM can take pride in being among the best organized conferences around. In Boston, AoM again managed to let most things at the organizational side of the conference “make sense”, from the submission system, to registration, program, and locations. This allowed the conference participant to shop around for, and engage with, a personalized and diverse program of discussions and events.

From the perspective of entrepreneurship research, one of the more prominent discussions that emerged from the many sessions concerned the nature and ontological status of the entrepreneurial opportunity concept. From a number of well attended sessions emerged two camps. One camp seems to fundamentally believe that entrepreneurial opportunities “exist” (either by discovery or through creation, or coming into being in some other way) and that as entrepreneurship researchers we should continue to try and study opportunities – despite the empirical challenges that this presents (like capturing undiscovered or unexploited opportunities, variation in opportunities, etc.). Bill Gartner (Clemson University) took the position that the field of entrepreneurship needs to continue to study opportunities. If not, it runs the risk of (paraphrasing Flanenery O’Conner’s novel Wise Blood), becoming like “a Church Without Christ”, where “the deaf don’t hear, the blind don’t see, the lame don’t walk, the dumb don’t talk, and the dead stay that way”.

Countering this position were a number of influential scholars who challenged the usefulness of the opportunity construct in empirical research particularly. In this camp was Per Davidsson who asked: what would we really miss if we did not have the concept of opportunity? Although the question is simple, it turned out deceivingly hard to answer this question.

In true scholarly fashion, no definitive solution was reached during the conference that would make everyone happy, but ACE is currently developing two major research initiatives to empirically and conceptually take these issues further (to which more soon).

Conventional wisdom has it that it’s not just important what you know, but also whom you know, and AoM is always keen to support networking among peers. Two particularly noteworthy occasions to network were the Entrepreneurship Social and the ANZAM Dessert Function (where, as an aside, the desserts were cleaned out by a large mob of hungry participants in the first 10 minutes). During these events, a number of exciting new projects were born, and others further developed, that will be pursued by ACE in joint cooperation with international collaborators. These pertain to projects being started around the CAUSEE database, and a nascent project that will study entrepreneurship in the Australian mining industry – with a particular emphasis on entrepreneurial opportunities. The latter project is also being developed into an ARC Linkage application that will involve both ACE-based researchers and international collaborators from the US and Europe.

And in the end, those international connections are what makes it all worthwhile. Next year’s AoM will be in Orlando, Florida. And yes, that will again involve a good 20 hours of flying….

Rene Bakker is Post Doctoral Research Fellow at The Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship, QUT Business School

How does networking contribute to the bottom line?

Innovation is vital to advancing living standards and wealth creation.  While innovation occurs in many guises, business plays a leading role in creating innovation and translating it into useful applications for the market.  Business innovate when knowledge is commercialized, usually in the form of new products, services, processes or business models.  Since Schumpeter suggested that large firms are more likely to innovate than their smaller counterparts, researchers and policy makers have examined this phenomenon.  In SMEs there has been overwhelming evidence that innovation supports performance, however, the dynamics of this relationship remain ambiguous.  This summary examines if networking really contributes to small firms’ bottom line. Read more

Many thanks to Dr Martie-Louise Verreynne, Sarel Gronum and Timothy Kastelle from the UQ Business School for their contributions to the ACE Research Vignette Series.