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Innovation Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship Research Lab

The entrepreneurship research lab is an ongoing research venture  at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet & Society (HIIG). Its objective is to establish a platform for practitioners and researchers that will better understand and contribute to Internet-enabled entrepreneurship. Digital technologies and the Internet fundamentally change many aspects of our society and provide countless innovation opportunities. Our goal is to understand and support these social and economic innovation processes by providing practical research in our Startup Clinics, accumulating and sharing knowledge with our Startup Knowledge Hub and building relevant partnerships in our Startup Network.




Since 2013 our team has been offering Startup Clinics on the topics of human resources & culture, law, finance, sales & marketing, lean project management and business models. Our Startup Clinics provide the basis for the generation of knowledge encompassing the most important elements of starting a business. After registration on our website, founders can attend individual sessions with our PhD students, who help them to address specific challenges. Startups receive support directly, via introductions to relevant experts from our network. Over the last two years, our team has supported more than 170 startups in more than 300 Startup Clinic sessions. In addition, we have created other formats such as our Startup Clinic talks, our roundtables, and business model innovation and sales workshops. We organise these formats in close cooperation with our partners – companies, universities, national incorporation services, Berlin-based incubators and accelerators, and the Berlin startup scene, as well as local and international networks.

Based on questions generated in our Startup Clinics, we have developed our Startup Knowledge Hub – a learning platform for founders, which enables us to share knowledge with the community of founders and better understand their learning needs. This platform provides educational Q&A videos on our Knowledge Base and our YouTube Channel and other materials answering specific questions founders have as they go through the entrepreneurial process. Besides these expert videos, the Startup Knowledge Hub unifies research on massive open online courses (MOOCs) and online learning and addresses questions regarding video production and utilization.

Research projects on factors supporting and hindering entrepreneurship

Following the current research on entrepreneurship, we focus on the process of entrepreneurship and on entrepreneurial activities: What do entrepreneurs do? How do they do it? What constrains their activities? In order to research these issues, we adopt a contextualized view of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship research places an increasing emphasis on developing a better historical, temporal, institutional, spatial and social contextual understanding of the development of startups. Currently we are pursuing the following research topics:

National Innovation Systems

  • Models to explain entrepreneurial behaviour in national innovation systems (Dr. Nancy Richter)

Collaboration with Startups

  • Cooperation between established companies and startups – The strategic orientation of corporate private incubators & accelerators (CPIA) and evaluation of service offerings for startups (Tobias Schneider)
  • Activity-based entrepreneurial process models for internet-enabled startups – The impact of accelerator programmes on the processes and the activities of startups (Stefan Trifonov)

Internet-enabled Startups

  • Effects of regulation instruments on startups – An analysis of the principle of purpose limitation in data protection law (Maximilian von Grafenstein)
  • Competency requirements for internet-enabled startups – An empirical analysis with an emphasis on marketing and sales (Martin Wrobel)
  • Financing strategies for early stage startups – A differentiating empirical analysis of soft- and hardware startups (Robin P. G. Tech)
  • Business models of startups – considering internal and external influencing factors on the evolution of a sartup’s business model (Martina Dopfer)
  • The development of organisations in the digital economy – Balancing agile product development and organisational structures (Steffen Tröger)
  • New interactions in online learning (Anna Hansch)
  • Patterns of how user entrepreneurs create businesses and integrate crowd resources (Hendrik Send, Robin P. G. Tech)


Nicolas Friederici, Dr.

Former Associated Researcher: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society

Former employees


Richter, N., Jackson, P., Schildhauer, T. (Eds.) (2018). Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership. Preparing for a Digital Future. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave McMillan. Publication details

Journal articles and conference proceedings

Grafenstein, M. v., Schneider, E., Richter, N. (2015). MAUERSCHAU: A Mobile Virtual Museum – Postmodern Storytelling through Digital Media. Kultur und Informatik: Cross Media. Publication details

Jackson, P., Dobson, P., & Richter, N. (2015). A Model to Explain Entrepreneurial Behaviour: The Case of Germany. Proceedings of ECIE (10th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship). Publication details

Working paper

Grafenstein, M. v. (2014). Copyright Protection of Formats on the European Single Market – A Definition of the Coypright Protected Work with respect to Utilitarian Coypright Theories. The Single Market and copyright protection of formats. Publication details

Other publications

Ripsas, S. & Tröger, S. (2015). Deutscher Startup Monitor 2015. Deutscher Startup Monitor. Publication details

Lectures and presentations

Welche Faktoren beeinflussen heute und morgen den Einsatz digitaler Lernsysteme?
Konferenz zum Digitalen Bildungspakt (Session: Trendmonitor berufliche Aus- und Weiterbildung). Microsoft Deutschland. Microsoft Atrium, Berlin, Germany: 09.11.2016

Thomas Schildhauer

Vorstellung der Startup-Benchmarking GER 2020: Globale Start-up-Ökosysteme – Wo steht Deutschland?
Zeit Wirtschaftsforum. Zeit. Hauptkirche St. Michaelis, Hamburg, Germany: 03.11.2016

Thomas Schildhauer, Marcel Hebing

Digitale Identitäten im Dreiklang: Menschen – Technologien – Unternehmen
IDent-Tag. Deutsche Post AG. Posttower, Bonn, Germany: 21.09.2016

Thomas Schildhauer

The Interplay between Data Protection Principles and Data-Driven Innovation
EuroDIG 2016. Brussels Meeting Center, Brussels, Belgium: 09.06.2016

Max von Grafenstein

Open innovation from an organisational perspective
ECU Watermark GetLINKED! Series - Session One. Edith Cowan University. Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia: 31.03.2016

Thomas Schidlhauer

How the cognition of the entrepreneurial agent shapes a startup's business model development
R&D Management Conference. Istituto di Management. Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Polo Piagge, Pisa, Italy: 25.06.2015

Martina Dopfer, Roman Sauer

Start-ups und der Innovationsstandort Deutschland
Berliner Forum Politik - Wirtschaft. Münchener Gespräche. Tagesspiegel, Berlin, Deutschland: 25.06.2015

Thomas Schildhauer

Competency Profiles for Internet-enabled Startups in Marketing and Sales: An Explanatory Qualitative Empirical Analysis
The WEI Business and Economics Academic Conference. Harvard University. Harvard University, Cambridge, USA: 08.06.2015

Martin Wrobel

Investigating open innovation using business accelerators – A realist methodology
ICQI - The Eleventh International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (Session: “Constructing a New Critical Qualitative Inquiry”). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign-Urbana, USA: 23.05.2015

Richter Nancy

Digitisation and Disruptive Innovation
Workshop series of the Centre for Innovative Practice. Edith Cowan University. Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia: 08.04.2015

Thomas Schildhauer

(Wie) bekomme ich die richtige StartUp Kultur in mein Unternehmen? Mythen und die Realität. Tradition trifft Digital Hipness.
21. Handelsblatt-Tagung "Strategisches IT-Management". Handelsblatt. Hotel Sofitel Bayerpost, München, Germany: 26.01.2015

Thomas Schildhauer

Data Protection between Innovation and the Rule of Law
Magical Startups. Magical Startups. W Hotel, Santiago de Chile, Chile: 14.01.2015

Maximilian von Grafenstein

The Sales and Marketing Clinic
Magical Startups. Magical Startups. W Hotel, Santiago de Chile, Chile: 06.01.2015

Martin Wrobel

Moderation of workshops and panels

Qualitative Analysis
Strategic Management Conference. Strategic Management Conference. LUISS Business School, Rome, Italy: 06.06.2016

Nancy Richter

Lean Project Management in digitalen Startups
Deutschlands Zukunft gestalten durch Projekte. Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie. BMWi, Berlin, Germany: 22.01.2015

Thomas Schildhauer, Nancy Richter, Tobias Schneider

Organisation of events

Startups Research with an Interdisciplinary Touch
iLINC Conference. 18.05.2015. betahaus Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Co-Organised by: Humboldt Carré (International)

Maximilian von Grafenstein