The choice of university faculty to engage in academic entrepreneurship—the establishment and management of a university spinoff company—is a critical component of university economic development efforts. Replicating Hayter (J Technol Transf 36:340–352, 2011), this study investigates motivations and definitions of success among academic entrepreneurs, how they evolve, and why. The results show that academic entrepreneurs are motivated by a number of distinct, yet interrelated reasons and that spinoffs are viewed as a vehicle to pursue SBIR awards and consulting opportunities that can, in turn, enhance their traditional academic teaching and research responsibilities. Several academic entrepreneurs have enjoyed commercialization success yet, as a group, near-term commercialization goals and financial motivations have become relatively less important. While these findings have important implications for policy, they also signal a new conceptualization of university spinoffs as a low-growth contract research firm and provide empirical support for the emerging theory of public entrepreneurship.
- Economic development
- Entrepreneurial motivations
- Technology transfer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management