5/11/2010 2:24:58 PM By
5/7/2010 4:35:19 PM By
Business plans are an as yet relatively untapped source for researchers but that might change with the release of the Business Plan Archive
Business Plan Archive is an online repository for business plans and related planning documents. Webmergers.com and the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business have built this site, in cooperation with the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and with financial support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to collect business plans for posterity. All of the documents we collect will ultimately be deposited in the Archives and Manuscript Library at the University of Maryland, College Park, where future entrepreneurs and business researchers will have access to learn from this remarkable period of technological and organizational creativity.
5/7/2010 12:18:10 PM By
We have released 2008 data for the Kauffman Firm Survey panel of new businesses (public-use data
and NORC Data Enclave confidential version
). Covering the fifth year of operations, this data will provide new insights into how the recession has impacted young businesses in the U.S. We will be releasing an overview report on the data next week.
I wanted to point out one area of inquiry that we added to the questionnaire in 2008
that I am anxious for people to examine - investments in intangible assets. Specifically, we added the following series of questions:
- F19b. Investments in intangible assets are expenditures expected to produce long-term benefits for businesses. I'm going to read you some types of intangible assets. When thinking about each category, please consider the cost of in-house activities in these areas including the time of the business owner(s), as well as services or license fees from outside providers. Did [NAME BUSINESS] have expenditures in [ITEM] in calendar year 2008?
a. The design of new and improved products and services
b. Investments in software or databases?
c. Brand development such as advertising or marketing?
d. Organizational development such as company formation expenses or
e. Worker training?
f. Any other intangible asset investments? (SPECIFY)
- F19c. Thinking about all the intangible asset expenditures [LIST IF NECESSARY] you just told me about, please estimate [NAME BUSINESS]'s total expenses on intangible assets for calendar year 2008.
And the initial summary findings from 2008 on this topic are:
- Half of firms made investments in intangible assets in 2008, compared with just 14 percent of firms investing in research and development (R&D). Intangible asset spending averaged $28,000 in 2008, while average R&D spending was more than $54,000. High-tech firms are much more likely to have patents, copyrights, or trademarks. R&D investment and investment in intangible assets also were much higher for high-tech firms than for non-tech firms in 2008.
If you are interested in reading more about the conceptualization behind these questions or other international work in this area, there is a working paper presented at the American Economic Association
available and I believe future iterations of it are planned. In 2009
we will repeat the questions used here and expand the expenses question so that it is asked about each subcomponent reportedly used by the firm. Understanding further what sorts of investments businesses are making in what they perceive to be long-term payoffs is an important contribution to the more accurate measurement innovation so I can't wait to see what researchers make of this information!
I want to give a big thanks to the Kauffman Firm Survey team for their continued outstanding work on this eight-year effort. Alicia Robb continues to show tremendous leadership as principal investigator and Dave Des Roches at Mathematica runs a tight ship in collecting the data. The fact that he and his team have been able to maintain an above 80 percent response rate in the fifth year of the panel is amazing. Tim Mulcahy and team at NORC have a great product in the Data Enclave. We are really excited to have Juan Carlos Suarez Serrato helping out as a part-time research assistant and John Mueller and Chris Crawford helping to develop the KFS Data Wiki (more on that in the next few weeks).
4/27/2010 9:00:00 AM By
When working with businesses, government regulators and statistical agencies are well aware that they must use the utmost care in the use of the data which businesses report to them. Beyond basic promises to survey respondents or other legal issues, much of this concern has to do with encouraging responsiveness and honesty in data collection by government from businesses. Yet, I believe there are some good reasons to thnk that past some grace period, say twenty years (maybe longer for legal reasons), that the actual risk associated with fully disclosing data reported by businesses diminishes. Businesses change. The economy changes. Each year, the data depreciate in private potential value. I would argue the public value of the data depreciates quickly initially but could potentially increase substantially if the data eventually became public record.
When I awoke this morning I wasn’t thinking on this topic but then I saw the summary report of a meeting the National Academies held examining the data needs necessary to avoid systematic financial risk
. One large strand of debate in the proceedings concerns the need for expanded data access by regulators and what data should actually be public. Current rules and regulations don’t allow different regulatory agencies to see data about specific companies across the spectrum of collection mechanisms. This is not a situation unique to financial regulation.
While I am not an expert on systematic risk and very little of the event had much language which would seem to impact entrepreneurship measurement directly, I was struck at how I’d come across the themes laid out in the report time and again in one form or another.
- Business data are never disclosable.
- Masking of the microdata (even from government regulators) diminishes the actual utility of the data.
- Data are collected for immediate regulatory and reporting purposes.
I don’t have immediate answers here but I am inspired in this area by the work of David Kirsch at the University of Maryland
to believe that more is possible. David is an economic historian by training and an entrepreneurship scholar by our good luck. What David seems to recognize more than anyone I have ever met is the potential threat to future academic research if the current laws and regulations surrounding business data remain intact. Specifically, David recognizes the many incentives that businesses today have to destroy most records concerning the company and not to archive things for posterity and research. While archiving of data and making data collected by the government public eventually
are two very different things, to me these concepts get to a larger need for proactive legal and curatorial management of business data for future generations of study.
While private databases multiply in their availability, there will always be a need for additional historic detail about businesses that can only come from honest answers to government officials or rich archival data from firms.
4/26/2010 2:18:04 PM By
The University of Michigan has released the fourth wave of data for the Panel Study on Entrepreneurial Dynamics 2
, which is following 1,214 nascent entrepreneurs working on starting a business in the United States during 2005. The Codebook
contains basic distributions of how the nascent entrepreneurs responded in the aggregate to questions in the baseline and first three follow-ups. The PSED is useful for examining the start-up process across a nationally-representative set of industries and variety of topics. The data are publicly available for download at no cost and without registration.
Incidentally, I will be participating in a workshop along with the principal investigators on the PSED at the 2010 Academy of Management meetings (information below).
Business Creation Panel Studies: The 2010 International Update
Entrepreneurial Panels Update
Scheduled: Friday, Aug 6 2010 4:00PM - 7:00PM at Le Palais Des Congres in 511F
Chair: Paul D Reynolds; George Mason U.;
Presenter: Per Davidsson; Queensland U. of Technology;
Presenter: Teresa Virginia Menzies; Brock U.;
Presenter: Yuli Zhang; Nankai U.;
Presenter: Vyacheslav Dombrovsky; Stockholm School of Economics, Riga;
Presenter: Jolanda Hessels; EIM / Erasmus School of Economics;
Presenter: Gry Agnete Alsos; Nordland Research Institute;
Presenter: Mikael J Samuelsson; Stockholm School of Economics;
Presenter: Richard Curtin; U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor;
Discussant: Howard Aldrich; U. of North Carolina;
Discussant: David Audretsch; Indiana U., Bloomington;
Discussant: Mahesh P Bhave; Alliant International U.;
Presenter: Rolf Sternberg; U. of Hannover;
Presenter: E.J. Reedy; Kauffman Foundation;
Understanding the origins of new businesses, the firm creation process, has been dramatically affected by the implementation of longitudinal studies of the start-up process (Davidsson, 2006). National projects in nine countries share the same research protocol and a conscious effort has been made to harmonize many details of these projects. The teams in all countries continue to make progress either in collecting additional follow-up data—as in Australia, China, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Sweden and the second U.S. project [PSED II]—or completing additional analysis and assessments of the existing data sets—as in Canada, Norway, and the original Netherlands, Sweden and U.S. projects [PSED I]. The Kauffman Firm Survey [KFS], designed to provide tracking of post firm birth ventures is harmonized with U.S. PSED II. This workshop will provide an update of the developments over the past year among these complementary projects, providing a guide to those teams in additional countries that may wish to implement their own panel studies. Following commentaries on the contributions of these projects to understanding business creation and unexplored opportunities, there will be an opportunity for an open discussion of future directions for this research paradigm.
3/31/2010 3:17:25 PM By
What is shared capitalism? When I first came across the term last year, I just stared at the words for a while. Shared capitalism...was this something akin to social entrepreneurship? intrapreneurship? or something totally different?
Well, if you follow the lead of the Foundation for Enterprise Development, then shared capitalism is most equivalent to capitalism where employees have some share of ownership in a company. If you are still a bit confused, then I suggest you take a look at the Shared Capitalism and Employee Ownership: The Scholarly Agenda Proceedings of the 2009 Beyster Fellowship Symposium
. In particular, there is an extensive list of new and existing data sources for research in this area starting on page 12 of the document.
3/31/2010 3:11:30 PM By
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a new statistical brief out on the recessionary job impact on firms of different sizes
. It's a really thoughtful piece looking at trends over the last two recessions and certainly appears to show the differential impact of this current recession on small businesses as compared to the previous recession which impacted large businesses much more. What I found most interesting was the following paragraph:
During the current recession, gross job gains reached a historic low in the BED series, with gross job gains for all firms dropping to an all-time low of 4,517,000 in the first quarter of 2009. This series minimum is reflected in all nine size classes. Gross job losses, however, have not yet reached the highest levels seen in the 1990 or 2001 recession. It appears that not only increasing gross job losses, but also decreasing gross job gains, particularly at small firms, are present in the current recession.
So as much as layoffs have been at all-time highs, its really the lack of hiring which appears to make the current recession standout in the BLS data.
3/31/2010 9:00:00 AM By
One of the top five topics which comes up in correspondence for me deals with surveys to study the effectiveness of entrepreneurial support programs at the regional level. It's an incredibly important question but not one, from my experience, where there is a lot of sharing among organizations or an advanced level of survey design. So, at the request of some colleagues in the FastTrac program, I have been working with some colleagues at the Foundation, our grantees in Detroit, and other contractors, to develop an alumni survey for the Detroit FastTrac to the Future program
, one of our FastTrac LaunchPad initiatives
. This is still a pilot survey project that will begin collecting data in the next few days but it's reached a stage where we'd welcome critiques of the survey instrument. One of the great things about Survey Monkey as a tool is that anyone can test out of the survey using this link
and no real data is collected. So, I throw things open here to see what sort of survey we have designed for an annual collection of data with the Detroit FastTrac to the Future programs. If you have an instrument that you've used for collection with a similar population, please let us know by adding a comment to this post.
3/30/2010 3:00:00 PM By
Changes to the questionnaire for the fifth follow-up of the Kauffman Firm Survey (KFS)
have been finalized following an open solicitation for suggestions, as well as expert feedback and vetting. The KFS, our eight-year panel survey on new businesses started in 2004, will gather data in 2010 (on the 2009 activities of the businesses), and will be available to the research community in the spring 2011.
Most of the changes this year are attempts to gather additional details on innovation activities of the businesses in the panel. Suggestions in this arena came from colleagues in Germany at ZEW who are collecting data on German start-ups as part of the KfW/ZEW Start-up Panel, scholars looking at user innovation, and also scholars studying competitive advantage. Also in the area of innovation, we are expanding the question we asked last year on investments in intangible assets to disaggregate firm-level investments by type.
Besides innovation, we have added several questions in the finance area. Given the recent financial crisis and subsequent changing terms of credit for many small businesses, we are trying to get information on collateral required for loans as well as attempts to seek equity investments. We already have data on attempts to seek debt investments. These are questions I wish we'd been asking before the current crisis but hindsight is always more clear.
This will likely be the last time we make changes to the Kauffman Firm Survey questionnaire since there are only two additional years of collection left. We were very pleased to receive so many quality suggestions from scholars this year.
3/25/2010 3:00:00 PM By
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a report highlighting the role of small businesses in R&D activities in the United States
. It shows increasing R&D activity by small businesses but also something I found troubling:
Microfirms spent 2.6% of company sales revenues on R&D activities in 2003, 10.1% in 2005, and 15.8% in 2007 (table 1). However, the change over time reflects more a drop in company sales revenues than growth in R&D performance.
Here, microfirms are defined as firms with 5-24 employees. It'd seem for this particular group, many of which are likely younger firms, sales were being negatively effected well before the current recession. NSF is in the process of developing a new microbusiness R&D survey (under 5 employees) to be implemented in the next year or two. It's one of the most exciting projects I see going on at the U.S. statistical agencies currently as it will really be breaking new ground in survey work on small businesses and innovation. I'll be posting more on that work as it becomes available.
While on the topic of NSF, an information webinar in April should be of interest.
“Human Resources in Science and Technology: Surveys, Data, and Indicators from the National Science Foundation” will be presented by Nirmala Kannankutty on Tuesday, April 6, 2010, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Eastern time.
The Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS) is a federal statistical agency housed at the National Science Foundation (NSF). SRS's role within NSF is to "provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data on scientific and engineering resources, and to provide a source of information for policy formulation by other agencies of the Federal Government..." Within this mandate SRS is involved in collecting and disseminating information on R&D expenditures and activities and on human capital issues. The United States is unique among major industrialized nations in that it has directly invested in collecting detailed data from a variety of sources on the entire science and engineering pipeline. Each of the data sources came about from U.S. federal administrative needs. The sources have evolved into important elements for the study of higher education and the scientific workforce. In this webinar, these surveys and data sources are described. Key indicators regarding trends in U.S. science and engineering degree production, enrollments, and workforce are defined and described. The “Science and Engineering Indicators: 2010 and “Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering” reports will be used as examples for these indicators. At the end of the webinar participants should be aware of data sources and how data are collected, indicators and reports from the NSF, and where to find more information from the NSF.
To register, please visit the SRMS web site at: http://www.amstat.org/sections/SRMS/webinar.cfm