Project status: In progress
The Comprehensive Australian Study of Entrepreneurial Emergence research project, or CAUSEE, is Australia's largest nascent entrepreneurship research project.
The project provides an exciting opportunity to fundamentally improve our understanding of independent entrepreneurship in Australia. It is the largest study of business start-ups ever undertaken in Australia and the only large-scale study to track particular ventures over time.
CAUSEE has identified a large sample of approximately 800 emerging (but not yet operating) business start-ups and is tracking them over four years. CAUSEE is focused on following start-up businesses from their inception.
The project has also identified a sample of approximately 800 newly established young firms that have commenced trading. In addition, high potential, high growth firms have been sought as a separate sample.
Australian Research Council (ARC)
National Australia Bank
- Research team
- Organisational unit
- Lead unit Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Other units
- Research areas
Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research
- Phone: 3138 2035
- Int. phone: + 617 3138 2035
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAUSEE aims to uncover the factors that initiate, hinder and facilitate the process of emergence of new economic activities and organisations. Unlike much previous entrepreneurship research, the CAUSEE project will not put a singular focus on the 'entrepreneur(s)'.
Assessing key characteristics of the venture idea, such as the degree and type of novelty the emerging venture has compared to what is already in the market, are an important part of the research. Also important is looking at the business and the outcomes it may achieve and the relationship between characteristics of the venture idea and achieved outcomes. It may be suspected, for example, that more innovative ventures are over-represented among failures as well as among the highest performers.
The CAUSEE project aims to make top quality contributions to the international research frontier, but is also expected to lead to highly relevant results for policy-makers and business founders.
The CAUSEE project is run from the Queensland University of Technology and is designed and conducted by a team that includes some of the most highly qualified researchers in the world for conducting this type of research.
Chief Investigators are Professor Per Davidsson and Associate Professor Paul Steffens, and the team also includes Assistant Professors Jason Fitzsimmons and Siri Terjesen.
Per Davidsson is one of the most highly recognized entrepreneurship scholars internationally and apart from his QUT professorship he holds part-time or ad hoc faculty positions with universities in China, Sweden and the US. Through his involvement in earlier and concurrent projects of the same kind in the US and Sweden makes him a leading expert in this type of longitudinal, start-up research. His credentials also include being a leading figure in the largest and most influential entrepreneurship policy research project in Sweden in the 1990s.
Paul Steffens has expertise in the areas of innovation and technology commercialization, and also brings important knowledge of the Australian context to the CAUSEE leadership.
International Partner Investigators are Professor Paul D. Reynolds, Florida International University, Associate Professor Ted Baker, North Carolina State University and Associate Professor Saras Sarasvathy, University of Virginia. Paul Reynolds, effectively the creator of both the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) and CAUSEE's international predecessors, is arguably the most influential researcher in the entrepreneurship policy and the world's leading authority for this type of research. He was also the 2004 recipient of the International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research; arguably the highest honour achievable in this line of research. Saras Sarasvathy is a disciple of Nobel Prize Laureate Herbert Simon and the originator of 'Effectuation Theory', which is one of the most interesting and discussed theoretical developments in entrepreneurship research in the last decade, and will be tested through CAUSEE.
Apart from the Chief and Partner Investigators CAUSEE will involve research students for thesis work as well as various topic and method experts as needed for reports on different themes within the projects domain.
- Scott R Gordon
- Julienne Senyard
- DM Semasinghe
- Christophe Garonne
What is CAUSEE?
CAUSEE stands for Comprehensive Australian Study of Entrepreneurial Emergence. It is a large-scale, high quality research study following the development of two categories of start-ups over time: a) those who are currently trying create a new business or move into self-employment and b) young firms, who are independent businesses which started in 2004 or later.
What are the goals for CAUSEE?
Previous research shows that new business start ups are important sources of innovations, jobs and economic growth. We want to understand what works, and what doesn't work for new businesses in the Australian context. No one knows very much about how Australians go about developing new businesses, the resources they use, such as people, knowledge and money, how this varies across industries and how all this impacts the success (or otherwise) of the business. This information will help entrepreneurs make better decisions; educators and support organizations develop better advice and assistance, and Governments design better conditions for the creation of new businesses.
What's in it for the respondents: entrepreneurs or business owners?
The vast majority of participants in our test survey found it both interesting and helpful to participate in the survey. The questions help the business owner to really think about their business, reflect about what they are doing, and how they are going about it. In addition those who complete the survey will go into a draw to win $5000. We are also developing a website for participants that will include a lot of helpful information for young businesses and a forum to talk to fellow entrepreneurs. Importantly, QUT will also be providing the general results on a website to give you a snapshot of responses by industry.
Who pays for this?
CAUSEE has received its main funding from the two grants from the Australian Research Council, ARC. The ARC is the Australian Government's main body for research funding. The grants of $455,000 and $262,000 are among the biggest given to business research and show that the ARC agree new businesses and knowledge about their development are important, and also that they have great confidence in the team of researchers behind the project. CAUSEE also has some funding ($180,000) from industry sponsors BDO-Kendalls and National Australia Bank. These organizations sponsor this research because they, too, agree new businesses are important and that we need to learn more about what facilitates their development. The sponsors do not influence the contents of the surveys and do not get access to data or privileged access to results.
Who will get access to the interview responses?
The data will be used solely for the purpose of academic research. Only a small team of academic researchers will have access to the data, and even they will perform their analyses on data sets that do not fully identify individual businesses. Results will be published only as averages across all participants or for broad categories of businesses; for example industries or size classes. In academic tradition such overall results will be made as openly available as possible - there will be no privileged access to results for any particular interested parties.
Why is the interview so long and what questions are being asked?
Businesses are started in many different ways, and many different factors contribute to the success or failure of business start-ups and young businesses. We want to obtain, within the scope of the project understanding of these phenomena, and this requires relatively rich information about each case. However, we do not ask questions that are difficult, sensitive, or require any other information than what you have 'in your head'. The interviews comprise questions in the following general areas:
Classifying the business: What type of business is it in terms of industry, ownership, etc.
Activities and milestones: What activities have been undertaken in order to develop this business, and when? How do the founders go about doing certain things for this business?
The business idea or 'business model'. What is new about this business compared to existing businesses? How is the business' activities linked to the owner's prior experience and education? What changes have been made to the business idea so far, and why?
Resources. What resources in terms of time, effort and money, etc. have been invested? What sources of finances and advice have been used? What resource advantages or disadvantages does the business have compared with other businesses?
Results, goals and future expectations. What has been achieved so far, and what are the expectations for the short and long term future?
Where did we get your phone number, and how did we know you were involved in a business start-up?
We have used two ways to get in touch with you: For the majority of respondents you were called randomly. CAUSEE uses random digit dialing, which is an established procedure for getting in touch with a representative sample of Australian households. We did not know your phone number in advance, or that you were involved in a business start-up - this is what the initial screener interview is designed to establish.
The other respondents were specifically targeted as high potential firms or developing firms. In this case, the survey team will provide details of the organisation who recommended we contact you. Alternatively, the sponsor organisation has directed you to this website to evaluate the research program.
In both cases, we'd love for you to participate in the CAUSEE research program
CAUSEE has received a four-year grant totaling $455,000 from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and a further $262,746 from an ARC linkage grant. Although these are very sizable grants, additional funds are needed and currently sought in order to realize the full potential of the CAUSEE project.
QUT and the CAUSEE research team gratefully acknowledges the support of the Australian Research Council, and industry partners, professional services firm BDO, and the National Australia Bank (NAB).
Publications and output
Business Creation Processes in Australia: What Start-Up Attempts Get Up and Running, and Why? - A Preliminary Assessment.
The Comprehensive Australian Study of Entrepreneurial Emergence (CAUSEE) is the largest study of new firm formation that has ever been undertaken in Australia. CAUSEE follows the development of several samples of new and emerging firms over time. In this report we focus on the drivers of outcomes - in terms of reaching an operational stage vs. terminating the effort - of 493 randomly selected nascent firms whose founders have been comprehensively interviewed on two occasions, 12 months apart. We investigate the outcome effects of three groups of variables: Characteristics of the Venture; Resources Used in the Start-Up Process and Characteristics of the Start-Up Process Itself. View full report in eprints.
Anatomy of New Business Activity in Australia: Some Early Observations from the CAUSEE Project
Early observations released May 2008 indicate Australia's start-up companies are going into business with their entrepreneurial eyes wide open and a technological and growth outlook that is at least on par with, if not better than, their US counterparts. View full report in eprints.
Characteristics of High-Potential Start-Ups: Some Early Observations from the CAUSEE Project
While women are making their mark in everyday Australia business, they are still under-represented in "high potential" firms, an entrepreneurial study undertaken at Queensland University of Technology has revealed. View full report in eprints
These are a selection of key results to date from the CAUSEE project. For all publications see e-prints.
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If you're from a high potential, high growth business start-up, we'd like to talk to you.
We're seeking additional funds to realise the full potential of the CAUSEE project.