Space, an open frontier should policy makers connect entrepreneurs and research

Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2021

Rocket lifts off at SpaceX base

Space exploration doesn’t have to be reserved for billionaires should government, entrepreneurs and universities come together, according to a multi-case study from the Telfer School of Management

Professor Wadid Lamine

Professor Wadid Lamine

While Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos’ are chasing space, a study from the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa shows the final frontier may be reached by more than billionaires if policy makers lessen restrictions to connect entrepreneurs with researchers.

Professor Wadid Lamine and his research collaborators led a multi case study on entrepreneurship in the space industry in Europe that revealed that innovation only really takes off when policymakers, entrepreneurs and universities build alliances.

Institutional barriers

The study found institutional policies create significant barriers for starting a business in the downstream space sector, generating a restrictive climate that does little to encourage the creation or development of new companies.

In Europe, the highly regulated aerospace industry fosters a restrictive climate that does little to encourage the creation or development of new companies. French companies Airbus and Thales collaborate and compete strategically and with support of the government, but their competition discourages new entrepreneurs to enter the market.

Promoting innovation

Meanwhile, NASA’s collaboration with the SpaceX – Tesla founder Elon Musk’s project – is a positive example of how innovative the space industry can become with the support of policy and researchers.

“Research has shown that institutions alter as they adapt to shifts and change in the landscapes or may be altered as entrepreneurs push out the boundaries of the entrepreneurial space,” says Lamine, an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Telfer and lead author of the study. “Such changes represent a dynamic for entrepreneurial agency.”

The research article, ‘Entrepreneurial space and the freedom for entrepreneurship: Institutional settings, policy, and action in the space industry’, was published in Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal.

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