Where Are the Innovative Entrepreneurs? Identifying Innovative Industries and Measuring Innovative Entrepreneurship

Sarah A. Low, Andrew M. Isserman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article concentrates on a crucial technical aspect of regional entrepreneurship research: how do we measure the most innovative of entrepreneurs, the entrepreneurs most likely to create regional growth? Innovation is a crucial component of entrepreneurship; yet, the frequent use of entrepreneurship proxies that do not consider innovation motivated us to propose and develop an indicator of innovative entrepreneurship that is useful for studies of regions, counties, states, and metropolitan areas as well. We posit that a novel combination of start-ups in innovative industries and self-employed in innovative industries yields entrepreneurship indicators that incorporate three widely recognized functions of entrepreneurship, including innovation. We detect sharp contrasts between our innovative entrepreneurship indicators and widely used entrepreneurship proxies. Our analysis demonstrates that innovative entrepreneurship is a useful empirical concept and that ignoring innovation in entrepreneurship likely has produced misleading research results and policy implications about regional entrepreneurship, its determinants, and its role in regional economic growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-201
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Regional Science Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • defining and measuring entrepreneurship
  • entrepreneurship
  • establishment birthrate
  • innovative industries
  • regional entrepreneurship
  • self-employment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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