Sustainable entrepreneurship: Definitions, themes and research gaps

A. Greco, Gjalt de Jong

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


In a time when the global economy continues to stutter, climate change mitigation and social justice simultaneously increase in urgency and complexity. Sustainable development ranks high on the political agenda, but the barriers appear still too intricate to address the solutions solidly. The existing literature strongly supports the relationship between sustainable development and sustainable entrepreneurship, acknowledging enterprises as one of the greatest engines for societal and economic progress, and hence, for radical change. This paper reviews the latest research developments and identifies important research gaps that still need to be addressed in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship. We first explore the existing notions of entrepreneurship and sustainable development with the aim to agree upon a definition that will serve as basis for next discussions and research. Subsequently, an overview of the main themes addressed by the literature referring to sustainable entrepreneurship is given. New venture creations, entrepreneurial drivers, performance and institutions are among the main themes we explore. We then provide an overview of the main methods adopted by scholars in the field. Finally, we address research gaps that, if filled, will surely bring the discipline forward and potentially incentivize more organizations and individuals to engage in sustainable entrepreneurship practices.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLeeuwarden
PublisherCentre for Sustainable Entrepreneurship
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameWorking paper series


  • Sustainable entrepreneurship
  • Narrative literature review


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