A Process Model for Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Evidence from a Highly Entrepreneurial European Region

Carolin Maaßen, Rosa Rovira, David Urbano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Sustainable entrepreneurship creates social and environmental wealth and offers solutions to pressing sustainability issues. However, there remain major gaps in knowledge on how sustainable entrepreneurship actually unfolds. As a response, this study proposed a unique theoretical process model for sustainable entrepreneurship by conducting a multiple case study with evidence from the highly entrepreneurial region of Catalonia in Spain. Theoretical propositions suggest that the entrepreneurial process for sustainable entrepreneurship unfolds in the three phases of opportunity recognition, development, and persistence. The results of this study give evidence that sustainable entrepreneurs recognise opportunities in social or ecological problems, that they intend to achieve a hybrid nature of social/environmental and economic goals in the development phase, and that they manage to persist in the long-term through a participatory governance model and strong social networks. This study lays an important foundation for future theory building by specifying how the sustainable entrepreneurial process differs from the one of traditional entrepreneurship. For efficient policymaking, sustainability education, encouraging future entrepreneurs in their opportunity creation is needed, just as facilitated access to financing and support through adequate networking infrastructures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Social Entrepreneurship
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jun 2023


  • Sustainable entrepreneurship
  • entrepreneurial phases
  • entrepreneurial process
  • social economy


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