Sport as a value creator for entrepreneurship: a perspective for creating multi-values in entrepreneurship through sport by elite sport organizations

Ben Hattink

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Recently a development can be seen in which an elite sports organization in close cooperation with its business partners, often organized in a business club/network, develops new initiatives. One of these is an initiative in which they bind jointly starting entrepreneurs. This with the aim of boosting entrepreneurship through sport. Such initiatives involve entrepreneurial individuals, organizations, groups of organizations and cooperating (groups of) organizations, often within a regional setting. This research attempts to provide these initiatives with a scientific framework introducing the concept of a "sport entrepreneurial ecosystem" (SEES). It becomes clear what an SEES is and what successful principles apply in creating such a system innovation.

In this research, the development and realization of an SEES has been explored on the basis of a so-called "engaged scholarship" approach. This approach involves a relevant problem formulation, anchored in practice, whereby those dealing with the problem are also involved in the research. Within this research a social system theoretical process model is created based on abduction, then an empirical research with an inductive approach has been conducted. Partly due to its exploratory nature, a "mixed methods" approach with a wide variety of techniques has been used.

The research shows that an elite sports organization can take on the important role of initiator of an SEES, after which business partners operate as (informal) leaders in the system, and the local government and (higher vocational) education might play a role as feeder of the system. A strategic driver for the sports organization and business
partners is the regional development to which they can contribute. For start-ups this is mainly due to the inclusion within a social network. Sport plays a crucial role in the entrepreneurial processes, for the realization of multiple value creation at multiple levels.

With the knowledge and tools gained from this micro-social system approach, sports professionals can take care sport to stop thinking and acting within the own sport-silo’s and will provide (starting) entrepreneurs business opportunities with sport as a value creator.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Groen, Aard, Supervisor
Award date19 Dec 2019
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4879-3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2019


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