In this paper, I (1) reflect on the current state of entrepreneurship research in Ireland; (2) assess the impact of Irish entrepreneurship research on four groups: students, academic peers, policymakers and practitioners; and (3) outline the factors that might shape the entrepreneurship research agenda in Ireland. While there is an established body of research on entrepreneurship in Ireland, I argue that this has had a limited impact on the international research community and, perhaps more importantly, it may not have impacted or informed, to the extent that it could, the teaching of entrepreneurship, the practice of entrepreneurship or policy relating to entrepreneurship in Ireland. The agenda for entrepreneurship research in Ireland should reflect (1) the national industrial development imperative, (2) aspects of the Irish context that offer Irish researchers a comparative advantage, (3) the changing nature of entrepreneurship and (4) emerging frameworks and theories.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make a considerable contribution to the development and diffusion of innovation as well as accounting for the bulk of economic activity and employment in Ireland. A formal process for managing the stages of innovation projects is generally cited as a key component of best practice in new product development (NPD). Successfully managing innovation is an important business objective for SMEs, and yet, relatively little is known about how innovation-active firms approach innovation and, specifically, whether firms use formal processes to manage their NPD activities. This study of innovation-active Irish SMEs finds that three quarters of firms report that they do not operate a formal innovation process, yet this is not associated with poorer performance in terms of revenues from new products and services; and there are few differences between firms with formal innovation processes and firms with informal innovation process across each stage of the Innovation Value Chain. Having a more formal innovation process is, however, associated with success at bringing novel products to market. This study contributes to our understanding of the management of innovation in SMEs and to the emerging literature on SMEs that has emphasised both the prevalence and the effectiveness of informal management processes.
Relative to the overall population of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), high-growth SMEs (HGSMEs) make a disproportionate contribution to economic growth. While research has identified factors that characterise HGSMEs, it is yet to provide a comprehensive explanation of the growth process. The purpose of the study is to identify specific growth events and examine how HGSMEs successfully transition through these periods in terms of operational (i.e. management systems and practices), structural, and strategic changes. Drawing from a descriptive profiling of Irish HGSMEs, four indepth case studies are presented. Analysis suggests a complex relationship between structure and growth, illuminating how HGSMEs experience trigger points that create a momentum of growth, which in turn mandates a supportive infrastructure.