How Technology Evolution and Disruption are Defining the World’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: The Case of Barcelona’s Startup Ecosystem


  • Pere Condom-Vilà University of Barcelona



Startups, Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, Innovation Ecosystems, Barcelona


This article provides a critical overview of the development process of entrepreneurial ecosystems and the role played by technology and startups within such process. The analysis focus on the characteristics and components of entrepreneurial ecosystems with special attention to startups, as they are the main actors of these ecosystems. The objectives are reached through a critical literature review. Results show the evolution of these ecosystems, and an in-deep analysis of the role played by startups, big companies and governments in such evolution. The knowledge paradox between universities and startups is also taken into account together with and the importance of cities in the development of successful entrepreneurial ecosystems. We apply the result of our critical review to the analysis of the case of the Barcelona Ecosystem. Last section is devoted to policy implications for the strengthening of entrepreneurial ecosystems with special reference to the universities and the need for a redesign of technology transfer strategies. Success factors analysis and specific policy recommendations can help to a better understanding and policy planning of entrepreneurial ecosystems.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Pere Condom-Vilà, University of Barcelona

I am a part time professor at University of Barcelona. Since 2014 to 2019 I've been director of Entrepreneurship at the Catalan Government. Previously, for eight years I was director of the Science and Technology Park of the University of Girona. Before of that, I was director of the UPC Park at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) (206,2007) and technology transfer manager at the University of Girona for eleven years. For the last 25 years I’ve been working on technology transfer, technological entrepreneurship and management of large public research infrastructures. I have combined management activities with teaching and research. Regularly, I publish and teach sessions in several universities, lecturing on R&D management, innovation, technological entrepreneurship and promotion of regional economic development. My doctoral thesis was centred on technology transfer. I am an Industrial engineer, and with a master's degree in business management.    


Archibugi, Danielle, and Roberto Simonetti. 1998. “Objects and Subjects in Technological Interdependence. Towards a Framework to Monitor Innovation.” International Journal of the Economics of Business 5 (3): 295- 309.

Atkinson, Robert D., and Lind Michael. 2018. Big Is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business. The MIT Press.

Audretsch, David. 2009. “The entrepreneurial society.” Journal of Technology Transfer 34:245–254.

Audretsch, David. 2014. “From the entrepreneurial university to the university for the entrepreneurial society.” Journal of Technology Transfer 39:313–321.

Audretsch, David, James Cunningham, Donald Kuratko, Erik Lehmann, and Matthias Menter. 2019. “Entrepreneurial ecosystems: economic, technological, and societal impacts.” The Journal of Technology Transfer 44:313-325.

Barcelona & Catalonia Startup Hub. 2018. ACCIO. Generalitat de Catalunya.

Blank, Steve. 2012. “Search versus Execute.”

Blank, Steve, and Bob Dorf. 2012. The Startup Owner’s Manual. K&S Ranch Publ.

Blank, Steve. 2013. “Why the Lean StartUp Changes Everything?” Harvard Business Review (May).

Capdevila, Ignasi. 2017. “The local and global knowledge dynamics through communities. The case of communities of makers and social entrepreneurs in Barcelona.” Management International 21 (3): 59-70

Chesbrough, Henry, and Marcel Bogers. 2014. "Explicating Open Innovation: Clarifying an Emerging Paradigm for Understanding Innovation." In New Frontiers in Open Innovation, edited by Henry Chesbrough, Wim Vanhaverbeke, and Joel West. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cooke, Philip, Mikel Gomez Uranga, and Goio Etxebarria. 1997. “Regional innovation systems: Institutional and organisational dimensions.” Research Policy 26 (4-5): 475-491.

Damodaran, Aswath. 2012. Investment Valuation: Tools and Techniques for Determining the Value of Any Asset. Wiley.

Downes, Larry, and Paul Nunes. 2014. Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation. The Penguin Books.

Etzkowitz, Henry. 2003. “Research groups as ‘quasi-firms’: the invention of the entrepreneurial university.” Research Policy 32:109–121.

Rahaman, Fardeen 2015. “What is the proper definition of a startup?” Quora May 14.

Cheung, Adora. 2015. 14 founders on what makes a startup. Forbes, Dec. 16.

Florida, Richard. 2017. The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It . Basic Books.

Florida, Richard. 2002. The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life. New York: Basic Books, 404.

Geilinger, Ulrich. 2018. “Biopharma startups and the development of new drugs.” Startup city.

Graham, Paul. 2012. “Startup Equals Growth.” In Graham’s Essays on entrepreneurship.

Hormiga, Esther, Li Xiao, and David Smallbone. 2018. “Entrepreneurial Dynamics and Institutional Changes.” Journal of Evolutionary Studies in Business 3 (1): 1-16.

Huizingh, Eelko. 2011. Open Innovation: State of the Art and Future Perspectives. Technovation 31 (1): 2-9.

Khelil, Nabil. 2016. “The many faces of entrepreneurial failure: Insights from an empirical taxonomy.” Journal of Business Venturing 31:72-94. doi:10.1016/j.jbusvent.2015.08.001

Kijek, Tomasz, and Arkadiusz Kijek. 2019. “Is innovation the key to solving the productivity paradox?” Journal of Innovation & Knowledge 4(4): 219-225.

Kösters, Thomas. 2017. “7 theses on the future of cities.”, April 2017

Marshall, Alfred. 1920. Principles of Economics. London: MacMillan.

Marmer, Max, Ron Berman, and Bjoern Lasse Herrmann. 2011. The Startup Genome Report. Berkeley University and Stanford university.

Mohout, Omar. 2016. “10 things you did not know about Europe’s tech scene.”

Porter, Michael. 1998. The Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. NY: Free Press.

Putz, Adam. 2016. Which European cities generate the largest VC returns? Barcelona’s ecosystem occupied top spot. PitchBook company, publ.

Ries, Eric. 2011. The Lean Startup. Crown Publishing Group.

Robehmed, Natalie. 2013. “What Is a Startup?” Forbes. December 16.

Rogers, Everett. 1962. Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press of Glencoe.

Schaeffer, Véronique. 2015. “Corporate entrepreneurship and creativity in large firms: the practice of start-up contests.” Journal of Innovation Economics & Management 18:25-51.

Schmidt, Glen, and Cheryl Druehl. 2008. “When is a disruptive innovation disruptive?” Journal of Product Innovation Management 25 (4): 347–369.

Stam, Erik, and Ben Spigel. 2016. “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems.” U.S.E. Discussion Paper Series 16-13. Tjalling C. Koopmans Research Institute. Utrech University.

Stam, Erik, and Ben Spigel. 2018. “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems.” In The Sage Handbook of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, edited by R. Blackburn, D. De Clercq and J. Heinonen. London: Sage.

The Economist. 2014. “Special Report Tech Startups.” 18 January.

WEF. 2013. Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Around the Globe and Company Growth Dynamics. Report Summary for the Annual Meeting of the New Champions. World Economic Forum. September.

WEF. 2014. Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Around the Globe and Early-Stage Company Growth Dynamics. World Economic Forum. January.

Vidaechea, Juan, and Montserrat Pareja. 2017. “Outlining spaces for the emergence and fertilization of creativity: the case of audiovisual festivals in Barcelona.” In The global management of creativity, edited by Wagner, M., J. Valls-Pasola, and T. Burger-Helmchen. Routledge.

Weller, Chris. 2017. “Online learning taught by robots could be widespread by 2030.” Ideas Reporter, Business Insider