Small Business Economics

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 569–590 | Cite as

The Digital Entrepreneurial Ecosystem—a critique and reconfiguration

  • Abraham K. SongEmail author


Sussan and Acs (Small Business Economics, 49(1), 55–73, 2017) proposed the “Digital Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” (DEE), a novel framework to guide our understanding of entrepreneurship in the digital age. By integrating literatures on digital ecosystem and entrepreneurial ecosystem, they brought to attention the importance of examining entrepreneurship as an outcome of interactions between biotic and abiotic entities represented by four concepts: Digital User Citizenship, Digital Entrepreneurship, Digital Infrastructure Governance, and Digital Marketplace. This paper revisits, critiques, and refines the framework through the following reconfigurations: (1) Digital User Citizenship is reintroduced as a heterogeneous group of users differentiated by their primary activity, as either consumers or producers. (2) Digital Technology Entrepreneurship encompasses all agents that build complementary products and services connecting to platforms. (3) Digital Multi-sided Platform is the intermediary for transaction of goods and services, and also a medium of knowledge exchanges that enables and facilitates experimentation, entrepreneurial innovation, and value creation. The main contribution of the paper is in the reconfigurations that clearly lay the ground for a more sustainable DEE—one in which user privacy is protected, platform efficiency enhanced, market competition encouraged, and digital infrastructure secured.


Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Matchmakers Digital infrastructure Digital governance Digital citizenship Multi-sided platforms Information technologies 

JEL classification

J24 ∙ L26 ∙ M13 ∙ O3 ∙ O11 ∙ P40 ∙ P00 



This paper draws on the research initiated by Sussan and Acs (2017). I thank Dr. László Szerb and participants at the entrepreneurship workshop hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Schar School of Policy and Government, at George Mason University in October 2018 for the helpful comments and suggestions. I would like to thank especially Dr. Zoltan Acs and Dr. David Hart for helpful comments. Any remaining errors are mine.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Schar School of Policy and GovernmentGeorge Mason UniversityArlingtonUSA

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