This paper describes the entrepreneurial ecosystems of three public research universities involved in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Midwest I-Corps TM (trademark symbol) Node. It presents a synthesis of programming, functional structure, commonly referenced university metrics and their limitations in measuring impact on commercialization and regional development.
Based on current literature, university data and discussions with entrepreneurship leaders at the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor, University of Illinois/Urbana Champaign and Purdue University, this paper provides an overview and analysis of entrepreneurial resources and education initiatives.
University contributions to entrepreneurial ecosystems can be described with respect to infrastructure and leadership, technology and talent and culture of innovation. Four main university entities are responsible for driving entrepreneurship initiatives. Identification of these entities, their respective activities and their outcomes allows us to propose a framework for analyzing and measuring university entrepreneurial ecosystem impact.
The paper describes the variety of university-based entrepreneurial initiatives believed to contribute to university entrepreneurial vibrancy and ultimately regional development. It identifies ecosystem stakeholders and provides a framework for examining their role and impact for continuous development.
The research complements prior reviews and empirical studies of university-wide entrepreneurial ecosystems by focusing on programming within and across institutions according to four dimensions (academic, research administration, technology transfer and community engagement) with respect to technology and talent development. It describes similarities across institutions and limitations associated with measuring impact. It provides a foundation for future empirical research related to the impact of NSF I-Corps and entrepreneurial programming in academic settings.