Memorial’s business faculty has announced its first research chair in entrepreneurship.
Dr. Alex Stewart has joined the Faculty of Business Administration after 17 years at Marquette University in Wisconsin, where he held the position of Coleman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship. He also spent 10 years at Texas Tech University and five years at Brock University in Ontario.
“I’m really excited about this position because of its mandate for developing entrepreneurship as a force for regional development. I’m also happy to join new scholarly and staff colleagues who are working to advance entrepreneurship through our teaching and research in the community,” said Dr. Stewart.
Impact on entrepreneurial ecosystem
The chair in entrepreneurship is intended to build research capacity in the field of entrepreneurship, lead research aimed at better understanding and contributing to the health of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and provide academic leadership of entrepreneurship-related activities in the province.
The chair’s focus on research and on contributing to the entrepreneurial ecosystem was one of its appeals, says Dr. Stewart, as was the prospect of living in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I’ve been wanting to get back to Canada,” he said. “It was that and the fact that there is this investment in entrepreneurship [in the province] — not that I think we can turn the economy around by ourselves, but we can certainly play a role. And the fact that the job is oriented towards doing field research is a way to end my career on a high note — to be able to get back into the field and do original research with businesses.”
“The ideal is to have business opportunities that are also opportunities to improve the environment — not just to not deteriorate the environment but to actually improve it.”
Dr. Stewart is currently exploring possible research projects but expects to focus his attentions on entrepreneurship, creative industries and the natural environment in Newfoundland and Labrador. He says there are interesting things going on in the province with respect to the environment, including Indigenous Peoples.
“The ideal is to have business opportunities to improve the environment,” he said. “I’ve actually taught in that area in the last few years — entrepreneurship and the natural environment from a global perspective — but I’ve never researched it.
“There are obviously so many resource issues related to the environment that I suspect I will find entrepreneurs and businesses that are heavily involved in trying to make a difference positively,” he continued. “At the same time, when you do a study like this, you can’t ignore the baneful effects that businesses are still having on the environment. The ideal is to have business opportunities that are also opportunities to improve the environment — not just to not deteriorate the environment but to actually improve it.”
Critical to culture and economy
Dr. Isabelle Dostaler, dean, Faculty of Business Administration, says the faculty is excited to announce the new research chair and for the impact it expects it will have on students, communities and Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Establishing research chairs underscores our commitment to excellence and relevance in everything that we do,” she said. “This chair, in particular, will help us build our expertise in an area that’s critical to the culture and economy of Newfoundland and Labrador and, through teaching and curriculum innovation and excellence, help us ensure that the next generation of business leaders is ready to meet existing and future challenges in the global business environment.”
Dr. Stewart hopes his time at Memorial will contribute to the university’s reputation for excellence in entrepreneurship studies. He says he intends to do meaningful research that can reach both academics and scholars and people in the business community and government.
“I hope to do work that will be meaningful to people who are making decisions about the future of the province, whether that’s in business or public policy. And, I would like to think that, after I retire, that Memorial will become known for its contribution to environmental entrepreneurship. I hope to contribute to that.
“I also look forward to working with the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship and collaborating with the Centre for Social Enterprise in my research,” he added.
The chair in entrepreneurship was funded by contributions from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, the faculties of Business and Engineering and Applied Science and private donations as part of the creation of the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship.