Research at Entrepreneurship

We are Finland's leading, internationally active Entrepreneurship Research Unit. We produce new information about entrepreneurship and its significance, manifestations and promotion in society.

Research focuses on

  • entrepreneurship and new working modes
  • entrepreneurial behaviour and business growth

Selected ongoing research projects

High-skilled internationals: bottom-up insights into policy innovation for work and entrepreneurship in Finland (HIWE)

The need for high-skilled internationals is broadly recognised in Finland. HIWE is a collaborative research project between Turku School of Economics and the University of Eastern Finland which started in 2022. The research seeks to an understanding of how to get more high-skilled internationals involved to Finnish working life, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

HIWE research concentrates on gaining bottom-up knowledge on how these talents experience the Finnish labour market and entrepreneurial opportunities in the country. The central question is whether the existing innovation policy and practices can respond to the challenges that international experts consider important to them.

The researchers of the project aim to develop and test a new type of participatory model for the development of innovation policy. This cooperative model brings together international experts and key stakeholders, and its goal is to challenge traditional hierarchical decision-making in the society. The model developed in the HIWE project supports the participation of international experts in the production of policy innovations. The project produces cooperatively written policy recommendations and a road map, which can be used to transfer the results of the project to policy actions and practice.

The research project will be conducted in 2022-2024. The team leader in Turku is Professor Ulla Hytti (, the research team in Turku includes also Project Reseacher Satu Aaltonen (, Senior Researcher Tommi Pukkinen ( and Doctoral Researcher Anna Elkina (

Further information on the research consortium and on the project from the project website:

SUSTAINABLE AND INNOVATIVE CREATIVE ECOSYSTEMS: Ecological Approach to Policy Innovation for Creative Sectors in Finland (ECOCRIN)

The growth and innovation potential of creative sectors is acknowledged in Finland and globally, but scarcely realised. Such creative potential remains undiscovered, and this may jeopardize the economic sustainability of the scattered creative sectors. ECOCRIN addresses the need to ‘unleash’ the potential of creative sectors for growth and innovation via innovation policies particularly. 

ECOCRIN will identify the needs of creative ecosystems at the grassroots level and, together with local, regional and national actors and stakeholders, create an ecological model to innovation policy for creative sectors that respects the planetary boundaries. Accordingly, ECOCRIN co-creates a Roadmap to implement the model and achieve policy synergies while engaging key stakeholders to the joint design of policy briefs and tools. 

ECOCRIN is funded by Business Finland. 

The research project will be conducted in 1.10.2023–30.9.2025. Professor Jarna Heinonen ( is the Principal Investigator of the project. The research team consists of researchers from Turku School of Economics Entrepreneurship Unit, Finland Futures Research Centre and Turku School of Economics Pori Unit. 

More information on the project from the project website:

Transforming Entrepreneurship Education (TrEE)

The main aim of the Transforming Entrepreneurship Education (acronym: TrEE) project is to change direction and practice of entrepreneurship education in Europe.

The TrEE project is about creating the resilience that is needed to deal with the major crises of our times, and the growing complexities of the societal challenges that come with them, both ecologically as well as socially. Entrepreneurship has the potential to contribute to solving as well as worsening some of such contemporary societal challenges. In this project, we propose to decouple EE from the creation of (high-growth) businesses, and instead put its (creative) potential to work to help enact more just futures, for ‘people’ as well as ‘planet’. This entails shifting towards innovating without exhausting planetary resources, addressing social inequalities, and becoming more inclusive. In short, this entails a justice for all life; human and more-than-human. This means making changes in the way we currently enact EE, finding new pedagogical premises, and developing new course formats, materials, and assignments.

Concretely the project aims at elaborating new pedagogical approaches; developing & validating relevant course designs, materials, and teaching interventions and at organizing training activities (educate-the-educator).

The TrEE project is conducted between December 1st 2022 and December 31st 2024. The project has received funding from Erasmus+ Cooperation Partnership grant.

The consortium consists of representatives from six European higher education institutions: Professor Karin Berglund from Stockholm Business School at Stockholm University, Professor Sarah Dodd from the University of Strathclyde, Professor Ulla Hytti from the University of Turku, Professor Sarah Jack from Stockholm School of Economics, Serxia Lage Arias from the Instituto de Educación Secundaria Fernando Wirtz Suárez and Associate Professor Karen Verduijn from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

More information on the project from the project website:


Further information is available also from the team leader in the University of Turku, Professor Ulla Hytti,

Featured past projects

Academic Entrepreneurship as a social process (ACE)

Research project focusing on "Academic Entrepreneurship as a social process" (ACE) ws conducted together with the University of Eastern Finland. The four-year project (2016-2020) was funded by the Academy of Finland and studied academic entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education and training in the transformation of universities marked by financial pressure and the growing importance of societal impact.

Using surveys, interviews, observation and documents combined with novel methods of analysis, the project shed light on the change, diversity and durability of entrepreneurial activity in universities. The project compared the strategies, forms and experiences of academic entrepreneurship in different universities while studying the construction and evolution of academic entrepreneur identities on an individual level.

The project aimed at a holistic picture of the forms, opportunities and problems in Finnish academic entrepreneurship. The research results offered decision-makers, researchers and universities new knowledge on the goals, forms and attractiveness of academic entrepreneurship.

The multidisciplinary project combined research in entrepreneurship and innovation management with perspectives from psychology and education. The researchers aimed to develop theory that will help understand the construction and change of academic entrepreneurship as a social process.

The project was tightly connected to the University of Turku’s entrepreneurship strategy and the Entrepreneurial University initiative. The project at the Turku School of Economics was led by Professor Ulla Hytti. The research team included also Postdoctoral researchers Kirsi Peura and Inna Kozlinka and two PhD students Anna Elkina and Kaisu Paasio.

Boosting business founding activity and growth!

Entrepreneurship Unit and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd produced jointly an evidence based study of business start-up activity for Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland. The aim of our research project was to create a snapshot of business start-up activity in Finland and the factors influencing it on the basis of the GEM survey data, Statistics Finland's data and other national and international reference data, research reports, scientific articles and project workshops.

The study provided recommendations for policy measures and choices which can contribute to increasing the business start-up activity and to boosting the founding of growth-oriented employer companies in Finland. The project paid special attention to how different groups of company founders should be taken into account in policy measures and choices, and what a number of benchmark countries, relevant to Finland, have done to facilitate start-up activity and establishment of growth-oriented companies. The statistical analysis found out the demographics of business founders and what kind of companies are being set up, how growth-oriented start-ups are and how the activity of starting a business is distributed by region and industry. This provided an indication of the importance of business start-up activity to the national economy and an impetus to identifying policy measures that can facilitate business start-up and growth-oriented early-stage entrepreneurship in Finland. In the workshops, the preliminary results of the research were validated and ideas for new entrepreneurship policy openings were co-created with key stakeholders.

The focus of the study was on supporting the implementation of the Entrepreneurship Strategy under the Government Programme. The project ran for 2021–20223 and was led by Professor Jarna Heinonen ( and the project team in Entrepreneurship unit included Adjunct Professor Pekka Stenholm ( and Senior researcher Tommi Pukkinen (


Developing Inclusive & Sustainable Creative Economies (DISCE)

DISCE and H2020 logos

DISCE project ( is set to improve and enhance the growth, inclusivity and sustainability of the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) in the EU. Overall, the ambitious and wider policy goals of DISCE are:

to support the development patterns of CCIs within the EU through research on new business models and inclusive growth; and

to re-shape understanding of what ‘inclusive and sustainable growth’ consists of in this context, shifting the CCIs (and CCIs policy) towards strategic goals of ‘cultural development’ that encompass both GDP and human flourishing.

From the policy perspective DISCE aims to unlock the potential of the CCIs in Europe at regional, national and European level. DISCE is funded by the European Commission, via the Horizon 2020 programme.

Entrepreneurship unit is the coordinator of DISCE, Professor Jarna Heinonen being the Principal Investigator of the project. The other research members of the consortium are the King’s College London (KCL) from the United Kingdom, the Gran Sasso Science Institute (GSSI) from Italy, and the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) in Riga, Latvia. The consortium is completed with a Belgian based non-profit consultancy Culture and Media Agency Europe aisbl (CUMEDIAE) and the European network of non-governmental cultural centres based in Sweden Trans Europe Halles (TEH), who will together assume both the communications and stakeholder engagement within the CCIs. DISCE runs for 2019-2022.

Follow DISCE in social media:

Selected publications