Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research

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The Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research is an award granted to “a person who has produced scientific work of outstanding quality and importance, thereby giving a significant contribution to theory-building concerning entrepreneurship and small business development, the role and importance of new firm formation and the role of SMEs in economic development”.[1] It is an important global award for research on entrepreneurship. The Prize has been awarded annually since its inception in 1996, although between 1996 and 2008, the prize was called the International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research. The prize currently consists of the statuette "The Hand of God”, created by Swedish Sculptor Carl Milles, and a Prize sum of 100,000 euros.

The organizations behind the Prize are the Swedish Foundation for Small Business Research (FSF), the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Nutek) and the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN).

The Prize[edit]

In 1996 Swedish Foundation for Small Business Research (FSF) and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Nutek) instituted the International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research. In 2008 the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) joined FSF and Nutek to become the third partner in awarding the Prize. At the same time the Prize sum was doubled to 100,000 euros, the name of the Prize was changed, and the procedure for nominating and evaluating prospective Award Winners was strengthened. The partnership of IFN became possible thanks to a donation by the Swedish entrepreneur and industrialist Rune Andersson and his holding company Mellby Gård AB.


According to the statutes the Award should be given to “a person who has produced scientific work of outstanding quality and importance, thereby giving a significant contribution to theory-building concerning entrepreneurship and small business development, the role and importance of new firm formation and the role of SMEs in economic development.”

Hence, the prime reason for receiving the Award is outstanding scientific achievement. In addition, other aspects may be factored in. The ambition behind the Award is threefold:

  • to highlight the importance of research produced in the areas of entrepreneurship and small business
  • to further stimulate and promote research within these fields, and
  • to diffuse the state-of-the-art research among scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and people involved in small business development.

What is rewarded?[edit]

Over a longer time span the Award winning contributions should reflect the extraordinary width of entrepreneurship as a social science field, spanning the entire spectrum from anthropology to theoretical microeconomics, and its methodological diversity.

Another dimension concerns what aspects of entrepreneurship that can be rewarded. Here at least three important aspects come to mind:

  • the environment and the organizations in which entrepreneurship is conducted
  • the character of the entrepreneur (personality, cognitive and affective aspects)
  • the role of the entrepreneur and/or the entrepreneurial function in a wider sense (at the level of the community, region, country, industry)


A number of distinguished entrepreneurship scholars are invited in May–June every year to nominate candidates. The invitation is extended to:

  • All previous Award Winners
  • The editors and the members of the editorial boards of the journals in entrepreneurship and small business research included in the Social Sciences Citation Index: Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Small Business Economics, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Journal of Small Business Management and International Small Business Journal
  • Present and past members of the FSF Scientific Forum who also hold or have held positions as full professors

The nominations provide the first step in the creation of a list of potential candidates considered by the Prize Committee. It is at the discretion of the Committee to decide which candidates should be targeted for a more thorough evaluation. A candidate can be short-listed for several years and therefore during that time be regarded as a potential candidate for the Award.


The Prize Committee “inherits” a limited number of short-listed candidates from the previous year, and except in rare cases the Winner will be selected from this pool of short-listed candidates. However, the Committee is also commissioned to add one or two new candidates to this pool based on nominations and discussions in that year (and previous years).

All short-listed candidates are thoroughly evaluated by a specialist in the candidate’s field. These outside evaluations are strictly confidential. The evaluation of a Winner by the commissioned expert will form the basis for a published presentation of the Winner co-authored by the outside expert and the member of the Prize Committee who is most familiar with the Winner‘s work. In some cases the commissioned expert may be a member of the Prize Committee, but this is likely to be an exception rather than a rule.


The Award Winner is announced at FSF’s Annual Conference (“Small Business Days”) in the city of Örebro in central Sweden in late January. After the announcement the Award Winner is requested to prepare a publishable Prize Lecture that can be delivered at the official Award ceremony in Stockholm in September.

The Award is typically conferred by the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Communication and the Winner is then expected to tour Sweden during the Entrepreneurship Week, the annual seminar tour of Swedish university cities taking place during the week (in September) when the Award is conferred.

Carl Milles and the statuette[edit]

Carl Milles was arguably Sweden’s most prominent sculptor in the 20th century. “The Hand of God” was one of Milles’ last works before his death. Originally, Milles created it to honor the Swedish innovator and entrepreneur Carl Edvard Johansson who revolutionized precision measuring of auto and other industrial parts which made the assembly line possible, and the original still stands in Johansson’s hometown of Eskilstuna.

Throughout the 1930s Milles worked at Cranbrook Academy of Art near Detroit. Thanks to a contribution from the United Auto Workers “The Hand of God” was recast and donated to the city of Detroit in honor of Frank Murphy, Michigan Governor and US Supreme Court Associate Justice. It now stands outside the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit.

Previous winners[edit]

Below is a table listing previous winners through 2008, when the criteria and name of the award changed, along with their fields of expertise and their individual prize motivations. Award winners beskuren.jpg

Winners after 2008 have included:

2009: Scott A. Shane, USA, For publishing significant works that display superior conceptual acumen as well as empirical and methodological sophistication. His research covers virtually all major aspects of the entrepreneurship phenomenon: the individual(s), the opportunity, the organizational context, the environment, and the entrepreneurial process. Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University

2010: Josh Lerner, USA, For his pioneering research into venture capital (VC) and VC-backed entrepreneurship. Among his most important contributions is the synthesis of the fields of finance and entrepreneurship in the form of entrepreneurial finance. He has also made several important contributions in the area of entrepreneurial innovation, spanning issues relating to alliances, patents and open-source project development. Harvard Business School

2011: Steven Klepper, USA, For his significant contributions to our understanding of the role of new firm entry in innovation and economic growth. Carnegie Mellon University

2012: Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, USA, For her work on strategy, strategic decision making, and innovation in rapidly changing and highly competitive markets. Stanford University

2013: Maryann P. Feldman, USA, For her contributions to the study of the geography of innovation and the role of entrepreneurial activity in the formation of regional industry clusters. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2014: Shaker A. Zahra, USA, For his work on the role of corporate entrepreneurship in knowledge creation, absorption, and conversion. Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

2015: Sidney G. Winter, USA, For his deep empirical understanding of Schumpeterian processes of dynamic competition, generation of differential technological opportunities through appropriability conditions and the mechanisms driving dynamic capabilities in firms. Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum (Entreprenörskapsforum), Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), and VINNOVA. 2015. Criteria. Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research website,