Sustainable entrepreneurship and competencies: A study of the appliance of entrepreneurial and sustainability key competencies in the creation process of a sustainable enterprise
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This thesis investigated the appliance of competencies for sustainable entrepreneurship in the process of creating a sustainable enterprise. Competencies are needed for starting and growing a sustainable enterprise because it helps in proceeding from an opportunity to the creation of a valuable enterprise. Thus far, no study has focused on identifying what entrepreneurial and sustainability competencies are deemed important by practitioners (sustainable entrepreneurs). Moreover, there is a lack of studies which identified the various phases within the creation process of sustainable enterprises. Therefore, 18 semi-structured interviews with (co)founders of sustainable start-ups were conducted in order to identify the relevant sustainable entrepreneurship competencies and corresponding phases. The main findings consist of contributions to the extant literature on the enterprise creation process of sustainable ventures. This thesis found empirical evidence for the phases presented in the study of Belz & Binder (2017), which is one of the few studies that established a phases model – called the convergent process model - for sustainable entrepreneurs and was used in this thesis to benchmark the findings of the respondents. In addition, this thesis suggests additional phases and an alteration in the sequence of Belz and Binders’ (2017) convergent process model. Furthermore, this thesis also found empirical evidence for the appliance of key sustainability and entrepreneurial competencies as proposed in the study of Lans et al. (2014) by practitioners (sustainable entrepreneurs). This thesis also provides insights into when these competencies were used in the process of creating a sustainable enterprise.