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Academic entrepreneurial ecosystems
the prerequisites (31.08.2017)
Förderjahr 2016 / Stipendien Call #11 / ProjektID: 1972 / Projekt: The Role of TU Wien in the Viennese Startup Ecosystem

Higher education institutions are faced nowadays with the need to apply entrepreneurship to all disciplines, specializations tracks, and courses provided in order to keep up with the dynamic needs of the 21st-century manpower needs. By pairing innovation with entrepreneurial mindset and skill sets, a new concept has emerged: The Entrepreneurial University which focuses on bringing academic innovations to the market. 

Very relevant for the concept of transitioning towards an entrepreneurial university is the comprehensive research performed by Dr. Ruth Graham part of the MIT Skoltech Initiative. Her report on ‘Creating university-based entrepreneurial ecosystems’ takes the learnings from emerging world leading universities with a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem, analyzes them and derives a set of guidelines which other universities can use to drive entrepreneurial institutional performance and nurture cultural, economic and socio-political environments which are in turn naturally conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation. The study covers over 200 universities from across the globe and reveals that the most low-regarded entrepreneurial universities are those characterized by cultures unsupportive of entrepreneurship and innovation, geographically isolated and without access to venture capital.  

Luckily, the Viennese ecosystem can boast a supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurship and its geographical position is definitely an advantage. Its privileged location not only enables access to all Europe in three hours flight time but also has strengthened Austria’s position as a business East-West Interface. Furthermore, the latest report from CBI Insights ‘Rise of the (Global) Rest –identifying new start-up and venture capital frontiers globally’ places Vienna among the top 3 emerging startup hub cities based on their share of global VC deals. The high percentage (17%) of global VC deals originating in this area is basically the third prerogative of the above-mentioned study.

The local ecosystem definitely meets the prerogatives of a strong academic entrepreneurship activity. Therefore it is important to understand the current status and endeavors of the local universities towards the new concept of an entrepreneurial university and find a suitable framework for developing and evaluating this ecosystem.