Institute of Geography

Economic Geography

Entrepreneurship

Ongoing Projects

Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Karte Basel

Mapping and Visualizing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

We are engaged in mapping and visualizing regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. We utilize novel web applications and design solutions to illustrate how startups and spinoffs evolve in regional economies. For an example, see the visual we helped create about Basel`s  Life Sciences Cluster

Completed Projects

Entrepreneurship in Peripheral Regions: Understanding the Role of Entrepreneurial Heritage and Embeddedness in Swiss Non-Metropolitan Areas
Timeline January 2014 – December 2017
Funding Schweizerischer National Fond (SNF)
Description Entrepreneurship and innovation are important dynamics for the development of peripheral regions. The research examines entrepreneurial dynamics in Swiss non-metropolitan areas from an evolutionary economic geography perspective. The study compares three peripheral areas and collect longitudinal data on entrepreneurial heritage and embeddedness. We employ a multiple embedded case study methodology and combine qualitative and historical data analysis with quantitative methods for identifying factors responsible for economic development of peripheral areas.
Involved researchers
  • Heike Mayer, University of Bern
  • Ron Boschma, Lund University (Sweden) & Utrecht University (Netherlands)
  • Sandra Bürcher, University of Bern
  • Antoine Habersetzer, University of Bern
Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Second Tier High Tech Regions in The United States
Funding Various foundations such as the Smith Richardson Foundation, Kauffman Foundation, The Brookings Institution etc.
Description Second tier high-tech regions such as Portland (Oregon), Boise (Idaho), Kansas City (Kansas/Missouri), etc. have developed in the shadow of Silicon Valley or Boston`s Route 128. These regions typically lack a world-class research university and large amounts of venture capital. This research examines entrepreneurial ecosystems in second tier regions and we visualize the genealogy of entrepreneurial firms.
Involved Researchers
  • Heike Mayer, University of Bern
  • Elizabeth Mack, Michigan State University
  • Joseph Cortright, Impresa Inc.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Portland`s Athletic and Outdoor Gear Industry
Timeline 2009-2010
Funding Portland Development Commission
Description The athletic and outdoor industry cluster in Portland is especially appropriate for a study about the role of consumption, culture and community in cluster emergence. The cluster consists of a group of innovative, world-class firms that design, market and distribute footwear, apparel and related gear for sports, recreation and active lifestyles. It has diversified  through entrepreneurial spinoff processes and firms moving to the region. We examined these dynamics through expert interviews, focus groups and through a visualization of spinoff dynamics.
Involved researchers
  • Heike Mayer, University of Bern
  • Joseph Cortright, Impresa Inc.
Link Visualization
Women and Minority Entrepreneurship
Timeline 2007-2008
Funding Diverse sources such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, Kauffman Foundation, etc.
Description Entrepreneurship plays an important role in stimulating urban and regional development. When we think of the “typical entrepreneur” we tend to imagine a white male operating a high-tech business in Silicon Valley. However, women and minority constitute a new and diverse group of entrepreneurs. We examine the geographic context in which women and minorities are entrepreneurially active.
Involved researchers
  • Heike Mayer, University of Bern
  • Darrene Hackler, George Mason University
  • Ellen Harpel, Smart Incentives
  • Christiana McFarland, National League of Cities
High-Tech and Biotech Industry Specialization in Metropolitan Areas in the United States
Timeline 2001-2002
Funding The Brookings Institution
Description We examined the growth and specialization dynamics of high-tech and biotech industries in metropolitan areas in the United States. The papers were published by the Brookings Institution`s Metropolitan Policy Program.
Involved researchers
  • Heike Mayer, University of Bern
  • Joseph Cortright, Impresa Inc.