Place and Entrepreneurship in the Era of Digital Platforms
Special session on sharing platforms organized by Koen Frenken (University of Utrecht) at the GEOINNO 2018 conference in Barcelona, end of January.
Most of the existing literature on economic geography and technological entrepreneurship has emerged in the pre-digital era. Today’s entrepreneurs have a greater ability to tap and leverage resources from multiple locations using digital platforms to lessen the disadvantage of their location, especially with regards to risk capital, foreign market entry, and access to talent. The dynamics in which the quality of a place, business needs, and personal preferences frame the local conditions of the business environment are therefore changing. Digital platforms afford entrepreneurs more flexibility and greater ability to customize their own locational comparative advantage.
They assess the local conditions in terms of a) their needs, b) how much value can be leveraged locally, and c) how much value can be leveraged globally through access to digital platforms. This raises a set of pertinent questions: How important remains location and in what form does it remain important? To what extent are the notions of path-dependency and regional variations still relevant to understanding the emergence of new firms in the presence of digital platforms? How do innovations diffuse spatially through digital platforms? And how do national, regional and urban institutions affect innovation, adoption and entrepreneurship of digital services?