There applications more than a product or service

There are different types of entrepreneurial opportunities that have been identified by scholars in their findings. Ardichvili, Cardozo and Ray (2003) believe that the process of opportunity development differentiates based on the origin and degree of development defined by the matrix as shown in figure 1.1 and that Getzels (1962) proposed. Figure 1.1 Types of Opportunities (Source: Ardichvili, Cardozo and Ray 2003)Market needs or value sought may be identified or unidentified and value creation capability may be defined or undefined. Top left cell are “dreams” where problems and solutions are both unknown and it refers to creative individuals such as artists, designers or innovators that will try to push current technology past its limit.

Top right cell is problem solving where problems are known, but solutions are not and the goal of this situation is to create a service or a product that will satisfy the need in the market. Bottom left cell is technology transfer where problems are unknown, but solutions are available and the emphasize in this situation is on search applications more than a product or service development. Finally bottom right cell is when the problems and solutions are both known – in order to form a business that can create and deliver value, one must match the needs of the market with available resources.

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Academics also add that businesses that are formed where one or both of the variables are unknown, are less likely to succeed than the one where both variables are known. Drucker (1985) claims that most entrepreneurial opportunities comes from a conscious, purposeful search for opportunities, which are found only in a few situations. He adds that there are sources of opportunities within and outside of the company or industry. The sources within include the unexpected occurrences, incongruities, process needs, and industry and market changes. The outside sources of opportunities include demographic changes, changes in perception, and new knowledge and they exist in its social and intellectual environment.Based on a research of other scholars, Eckhardt and Shane (2003) proposed 3 dimensions by which opportunities can be categorized: locus of changes, source of opportunities and initiator of the change.

Locus of Changes refers to value chain identified by Schumpeter (1934) which includes five of these changes: creation of new products or services, discovery of new geographical markets, creation or discovery of new raw materials, new methods of production and new ways of organizing. There are four sources of opportunities according to Eckhardt and Shane (2003). One of them, involves considering differences between opportunities that result from asymmetries in existing information between market participants and opportunities that result from exogenous shocks of new information. The second comparison lies between supply and demand side opportunities. The third differentiates between productivity-enhancing and rent-seeking opportunities. Final one lies in identifying the catalysts of change that generate the opportunities.

Opportunities are classified by the actor that initiates the change and there are different types of actors that have been identified by the researchers. These actors include: non-commercial entities, existing commercial entities in an industry, and new commercial entities in an industry (Klevorick et al., 1995). Sarasvathy, Dew, Velamuri, and Venkataraman (2002) focused on the knowledge and human beliefs in order to classify the opportunities. Based on Frank Knight (1921) work, human beliefs about the future were split into three categories: largely predictable, largely unpredictable but driven by an independent environment and largely unpredictable but driven by human agency.

They further argue that each of the human beliefs would be associated with pursuit of opportunities associated with more or less clear sources of demand and supply. For instance, entrepreneurs would pursue opportunities involving clear sources of demand and supply in predictable future. In unpredictable future driven by independent environment, entrepreneurs would pursue opportunities involving a clear source of demand or supply. In unpredictable future driven by human agency, entrepreneurs would pursue opportunities with no clear sources of demand or supply.

Dimov (2010) develops an opportunities typology based on ‘Information context’, which refers to entrepreneurs having to ‘fill in’ the information and reasoning gaps about products or customers. In the case when an information is either unavailable or lacking about product or customer, Dimov outlines three types of contexts that can lead to a development of entrepreneurial opportunity. Three types of context include: ‘demand-driven’, pertains to available information about possible customer demand and lack of information about possible products that can meet such demand; ‘supply-driven’, pertains to available information about possible products and lack of information about possible demand that such products can satisfy; ‘replication-driven’, pertains to available information about both possible customer demand and possible products.


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