How experienced entrepreneurs perceive the value provided by business idea competitions: a case study of competition in Finland

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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Business idea competitions are gaining an increasingly significant role in entrepreneurial ecosystems as supporters of entrepreneurial development. These competitions are hosted globally by private and public organizations. Some examples of public organizations include MIT, the European Union and Harvard University. Some examples of private organizationsi nclude SLUSH and Pegasus Tech Ventures. Both of these private organizations offer considerable financial rewards to the winners of their business idea competitions. Business idea competitions are argued as being methods to boost economies by connecting various stakeholders and distributing valuable information to their participants which may be otherwise hard to access. This study aims to bring an improved understanding to how experienced entrepreneurs perceive the value of business idea competitions. Business idea competitions have been discussed in an academic context as being events only organized for nascent entrepreneurs. In practice, these competitions are also organized for experienced entrepreneurs. For example, EY organizes a competition called “Entrepreneur of the Year” which is targeted for experienced entrepreneurs with established businesses. Based on the lack of research regarding experienced entrepreneurs in business idea competitions this study has identified this as a research gap. This study is qualitative and phenomenological in its nature. The study aims to identify how experienced entrepreneurs perceive business idea competitions and what factors contribute to their perception formation of the competition's value perceptions. To analyze these factors indepth interviews were utilized. The study provides a new perspective on business idea competition research by exploring the impact of entrepreneurial experience on business idea competition’s value perceptions and how having an established business on may affect the experienced entrepreneurs' value perceptions of business idea competitions. The study also focuses the research within a geographical perspective as similar studies have not been performed in Finland and prior literature has called for additional research within new geographical contexts on business idea competitions. By utilizing the theoretical framework of the theory of planned behaviour the study identifies how these value perceptions are formulated based on multiple factors such as the entrepreneurs' perceived benefits and costs from participating in these competitions, their interactions with relevant stakeholders, their perceived norms and perceived barriers to participation. Therefore, arguing that these decisions are a sum of multiple factors which are individually weighted by the entrepreneurs themselves.
Thesis advisor
Asikainen, Sanna-Katriina
business idea competitions, experienced entrepreneurs, value perceptions, networking, publicity
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