The overarching research question is: what constitutes entrepreneurial ecosystem efficacy with respect to indigenous entrepreneurs’ innovation intentions and activity? In order to investigate this overarching research question, the following questions will be explored: (i) how do Māori entrepreneurs think about innovation? (ii) How does enterprise assistance support Māori entrepreneurs’ to innovate? And (iii), what are the implications for enterprise assistance targeting Māori entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurial ecosystem here refers to diverse forms of enterprise assistance (financial and nonfinancial), providers of enterprise assistance, and how indigenous entrepreneurs interact with this assistance and its provision. This ecosystem is inclusive of public and private forms of enterprise assistance, but the focus of this study is on publicly funded enterprise assistance. Innovation assistance may include information and advice on innovation, funding for research and development, and provision of scientific services and technical assistance.
Enterprise assistance supports both entrepreneurship (the process of starting and managing an enterprise) and innovation (the process of introducing change that adds value to an enterprise). Yet, innovation by entrepreneurs is emphasised in this study for three main reasons. First, there may be material, but often overlooked, differences in understanding between policy makers and entrepreneurs about what innovation is, why it matters and how to innovate that affect the effectiveness of innovation assistance. Second, increasing firm and industry-level innovation (through coinvestment in research and development, for example) is a major policy goal, but presently, we have little knowledge about the propensity for indigenous entrepreneurs to innovate and their innovation activity. Third, with a plethora of enterprise assistance, there is uncertainty about the value and impact of innovation assistance for indigenous entrepreneurs, firms and economies. This latter point pertains to the efficacy of enterprise assistance for indigenous entrepreneurs with respect to innovation.
The project is to be carried out by Te Au Rangahau, the Māori Business & Leadership Research Centre within the Massey Business School, in collaboration with other stakeholders and research partners.