Consensus study on factors influencing the academic entrepreneur in a middle-income country’s university enterprise

Purpose – This study aims to ascertain the personal characteristics of a group of successful academic entrepreneurs in a South African university enterprise and the prevalent barriers and enablers to their entrepreneurial endeavour. Design/methodology/approach – The authors used a Delphi process to identify and rank the characteristics, enablers, barriers and behaviours of entrepreneurial academics, with a Nominal Group Technique applied to establish challenges they encounter managing their enterprise and to propose solutions. Findings – Perseverance, resilience and innovation are critical personal characteristics, while collaborative networks, efficient research infrastructure and established research competence are essential for success. The university’s support for entrepreneurship is a significant enabler, with unnecessary bureaucracy and poor access to project and general enterprise funding an impediment. Successful academic entrepreneurs have strong leadership, and effective management and communication skills. Research limitations/implications – The main limitation is the small study participant group drawn from a single university enterprise, which complicates generalisability. The study supported the use of Krueger’s (2009) entrepreneurial intentions model for low- and middle-income country (LMIC) academic entrepreneur investigation but proposed the inclusion of mitigators to entrepreneurial activation to recognize contextual deficiencies and challenges.
Academic entrepreneurship, Academic entrepreneur, Entrepreneurial academic, Entrepreneurial intentions, LMIC, Delphi technique, Nominal group technique