Welcome to the CIT.ee blog

Erika Herz

Welcome to the CIT.ee blog where project researchers and collaborators can share emerging insights, early stage research ideas, and work in progress on the topic of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Cities Innovating Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, or CIT.ee, is a research initiative aimed at answering two vital questions:

  • What drives the emergence of innovative, entrepreneurial cities?
  • What are the impacts of such cities on the welfare and vibrancy of their communities?

Leveraging a multidisciplinary team of scholars and adopting a pluralistic approach to research, we will explore the conditions under which entrepreneurial ecosystems emerge, and how their emergence impacts all members of their communities. Many factors are associated with thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems, including presence of research universities, a lively cultural scene, and capital availability. Yet policy makers and business leaders are hard-pressed to come up with a “playbook” to advance entrepreneurial activity in their own communities since many of these factors are location-specific or not necessarily causal. The CIT.ee initiative will aim to understand these relationships.

Additionally, conventional wisdom says that all entrepreneurship is good, but what about unintended consequences such as skyrocketing home values in the Bay Area which have forced out all but the highest earners? And if we assume that middle class job creation is desired, how do we assess the impact of high growth startups that generate concentrated wealth but not many jobs, as is often the case for tech companies? We’ll address these important societal questions as well.

In the first stages of this project, we will focus our studies on small to midsize cities in the United States and utilize a combination of in-depth case histories, consolidation of archival data, and collection of novel data through interviews and other primary data gathering efforts.

We will build on the insights gleaned from our Jefferson Innovation Forum, which have convened diverse and influential groups of policymakers, entrepreneurs and executives to discuss how to create and sustain a society of entrepreneurs and innovators. Our Milstein Symposium report, Can Startups Save the American Dream, an output of the Milstein Commission on Entrepreneurship and Middle-Class Jobs led by Steve Case and Carly Fiorina, also provides recommendations that can be investigated through our research.

We welcome your participation in CIT.ee. If you’d like to contribute a posting with your ideas and research or you want to learn more, please e-mail citee@darden.virginia.edu.