Kevin Walsh

Kevin Walsh

PhD Thesis Title : Essays on Regulatory Risk in Financial Institutions

Supervisor: Dr Rory O' Shea

External Examiner:
Professor Esther Tippmann
NUI Galway


Entrepreneurship is both sticky (persistent) and spiky (unevenly located) which presents a problem of how to support new venture creation and scaling in regions which do not exhibit high levels of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is important because it results in regional development through innovation, employment and economic growth. The entrepreneurial ecosystem literature offers an approach to enhance entrepreneurship within regions by emphasising interactions between elements categorised as financial, institutional, knowledge and social capital.

This dissertation investigates the influence of different types of prior employers of high-tech entrepreneurs on knowledge capital in entrepreneurial ecosystems in Ireland, the development of knowledge capital in an entrepreneurial ecosystem of high-growth firms in Dublin, and the influence of different types of capital across entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout the United States.

It finds that universities, multinationals, venture capital, hubs and start-ups are all important sources of knowledge capital for high-tech entrepreneurs in an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Universities located within each region of Ireland are the most important prior employer despite university spinoffs comprising a small portion of all high-tech entrepreneurial firms in Ireland. In Dublin, as knowledge capital was recycled across multinational high-growth firms through employment mobility the region became a more connected and resilient structure. Across the United States, institutional capital was shown to interact with financial capital. In entrepreneurial ecosystems with low levels of institutional capital, entrepreneurship was influenced by financial capital in neighbouring ecosystems, but this was not evident in ecosystems with high levels of institutional capital.

This contributes to the knowledge of the entrepreneurial literature by showing which prior employers are important in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, how knowledge capital derived from prior employment develops resilience and structure in the ecosystem, and how interactions between types of capital affect the relationship on entrepreneurship within the ecosystem.


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