"Founding a startup, but more difficult" - Challenges for founders in developing countries

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Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftswissenschaften für Ingenieure und Naturwissenschaftler


Global markets are changing! The economic focus is increasingly shifting from developed markets to developing countries, but the hurdles for founders in those countries are still high. Start-up capital is scarce, regulations unclear and infrastructure weak. The state is usually unable to provide an ideal start-up climate.

The aim of this master thesis will be to investigate pressing issues concerning start-ups in developing countries. As a data basis, we use our own (and thus unique) survey in two countries, Indonesia and a country yet to be chosen. Indonesia stands out among developing countries for its good education, good access to capital and strong government support for founders. The country to be chosen should be as contrary as possible, e.g. Venezuela or Nigeria.

The specific question of the master thesis can be worked out together. Possible examples would be:
- What role do different cultures play in the success of startups?
- How important is it for founders in developing countries to be willing to take risks (e.g. in terms of company success)?
- Does prior startup experience play a smaller role if the government provides more support to founders?

An excerpt of your most important tasks during the master thesis:
- Definition of the research question
- Independent literature research
- Data collection for Indonesia (based on an already existing questionnaire; data for comparison country will be provided)
- Calculation of the models & conclusion

What's in it for you?
- Deep understanding of challenges in developing countries (this is where the music plays in the future!)
- Independent determination of the specific research question as well as impact on the selection of the comparison country
- Close supervision and individual coaching
- Insights into in-depth research on the topic and contacts in the startup scene

Literature for initial reading:
- Foo M-D, Vissa B, Wu B. Entrepreneurship in emerging economies. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. 2020;14:289-301.
- Cao, Shi. A systematic literature review of entrepreneurial ecosystems in advanced and emerging economies. Small Business Economics. 2020
- Chowdhury et al. Institutions and Entrepreneurship Quality. Entrepreneurship: theory and practice. 2019;43:51-81

Keywords: Startups, founder, developing countries, entrepreneurship