All course information is listed within this syllabus.

CEDEV 555: Entrepreneurship in the Community (3 credits). This course examines the relationship between entrepreneurs, small businesses, and local economic development.

Prerequisite or concurrent: CEDEV 430


Instructor for CEDEV 555

Michael W-P Fortunato, Ph.D.
Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
Founding Partner, Creative Insight Community Development

Phone (Cell): 412-480-4974
E-mail: or

I will do my best to respond to your e-mails (use Canvas Inbox) within 24 hours, and I will let you know if I'm going to be unavailable for any length of time.

Office hours by appointment only.

Course Overview

The course examines the multiple definitions of "entrepreneurship," and how these individuals affect--and are affected by--the social and economic dynamics of their community. The course develops a rich understanding of the entrepreneurship process from a community-based view rather than a traditional firm-based view, illustrating the many ways that entrepreneurs and their local society interact. The course begins by examining the role of the firm in society, and the ways that local life enhances and constrains opportunity and opportunistic action. Students will also learn ways to measure small business dynamics locally and develop an understanding of how different community development approaches may affect different types of entrepreneurship.

Course Objectives

  • Introduce and explore entrepreneurship as a multidimensional and dynamic concept that keeps pace with the many forms of entrepreneurship in the real world. This includes, but is not limited to, business venturing, corporate entrepreneurship, community entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, non-profit and public-private venturing, serial entrepreneurship, lifestyle entrepreneurship, high-growth and V.C.-driven entrepreneurship, necessity entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, and other types of emergent forms of venture creation.
  • Introduce risk, uncertainty, and return conceptually, and examine how communities and regions structure and influence risk and return.
  • Examine the concept of opportunity, where opportunity comes from, who is responsible for creating it, and why it is important in a business venture.
  • Explore the importance of human networks and community and regional institutions, cultures, and systems to supporting or inhibiting entrepreneurship development.
  • Examine differences in entrepreneurship across communities and regions, and to develop techniques for analyzing the multidimensionality of entrepreneurship across different areas.
  • Understand how institutions and policies influence entrepreneurship development.

Learning Methods

This course relies primarily on three methods of learning:

  • Course readings, module readings, and multimedia like video and recordings.
  • Reflecting on what you learned by engaging in online discussions with your colleagues and the instructor.
  • Analysis projects where you put your knowledge to use.

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

Course Materials

*Mitra, J. (2012). Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Regional Development. Abingdon, England: Routledge.

*E-Book Option: An online version of this text is available at no cost as a Penn State Library E-Book. You can access the E-Book through the Library Resources link on the course navigation. Some E-Books will only be available online, while others will be available to download in full or in part. You may choose to use the E-Book as an alternative to purchasing a physical copy of the text. For questions or issues, you can contact the University Libraries Reserve Help ().

Module Readings

You must also access the following Penn State library materials specifically reserved for this course. From the Library Resources page in Canvas, select "E-Reserves for CEDEV 555."

Module 1: Introduction to the Course

  • Mitra, Chapter 1, pp. 1-20 (required textbook).
  • Henderson, J. (2002). Building the rural economy with high-growth entrepreneurs. Economic Review-Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, 87(3), 45-75.
  • Liang, C. L. K. (2004). Disparities Of Entrepreneurial Activities Among Urban Industries--An Exploratory Approach. In 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO (No. 20405). American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

Module 2: Entrepreneurial Opportunity

  • Mitra, Chapter 2, pp. 21-30 (required textbook).
  • Shane, S., & Venkataraman, S. (2000). The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. Academy of management review, 217-226.
  • Sarasvathy, S. D. (2001). Causation and effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency. Academy of management Review, 243-263.
  • Alvarez, S. A., & Barney, J. B. (2007). Discovery and creation: Alternative theories of entrepreneurial action. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 1(1-2), 11-26.
  • Dimov, D. (2007). "Beyond the Single-Person, Single-Insight Attribution in Understanding Entrepreneurial Opportunities." Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 31(5).
  • Corner, P.D. and M. Ho. (2010). "How Opportunities Develop in Social Entrepreneurship." Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 34(4), pp. 635-659.
  • Shane, S. (2012). Reflections on the 2010 AMR decade award: Delivering on the promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. Academy of Management Review, 37(1), 10-20.
  • Fortunato, M.W.P. & Alter, T.R. (2016). Culture and entrepreneurial opportunity in high- and low-entrepreneurship rural communities: Challenging the discovery/creation divide. Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy 10(4), 447-476.
  • Eades, D. (2011). Using IMPLAN to Identify Entrepreneurial Opportunities through Gap Analysis. Presented at What Works! 2011, Philadelphia, PA. PowerPoint.

Module 3: Entrepreneurship Theory and Theories of the Firm

  • Mitra, Chapter 3, pp. 31-58 (required textbook).
  • Davidsson, P. (2003). The domain of entrepreneurship research: Some suggestions. Advances in entrepreneurship, firm emergence and growth, 6, 315-372.
  • Baumol, W. J. (1968). Entrepreneurship in economic theory. The American Economic Review, 58(2), 64-71.
  • Shane, S. (2003). A general theory of entrepreneurship: The individual-opportunity nexus. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar. Chapter 2, pp. 36-60.

Module 4: All About Risk and Uncertainty

  • Knight, F.H. (1921). Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Chapters III.VII-III.VIII, pp. 101-138.
  • Eberhart, R. N., Easley, C. E., & Eisenhardt, K. M. (2014). Failure is an Option: Failure Barriers and New Firm Performance. Working paper No. 3308.
  • Palich, L. E., & Ray Bagby, D. (1995). Using cognitive theory to explain entrepreneurial risk-taking: Challenging conventional wisdom. Journal of Business Venturing, 10(6), 425-438.
  • Zhao, H., Seibert, S. E., & Hills, G. E. (2005). The mediating role of self-efficacy in the development of entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(6), 1265.
  • Xu, H., & Ruef, M. (2004). The myth of the risk-tolerant entrepreneur. Strategic Organization, 2(4), 331-355.
  • Stewart Jr, W. H., & Roth, P. L. (2001). Risk propensity differences between entrepreneurs and managers: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(1), 145.

Module 5: Entrepreneurs as Diverse Social Actors

  • Mitra, Chapter 4, pp. 58-82 (required textbook).
  • Schoar, A. (2010). The Divide between Subsistence and Transformational Entrepreneurship. In Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 10 (pp. 57-81). University of Chicago Press.
  • Moss, T., Lumpkin, G. T., & Short, J. (2009). The dependent variables of social entrepreneurship research.
  • Blanchflower, D.G. (2007). Entrepreneurship in the United States. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3130.
  • Foss, N. J., & Klein, P. G. (2010). Alertness, action, and the antecedents of entrepreneurship. Journal of Private Enterprise, 25(2), 145-164.
  • Lee, L., Wong, P.K., and M.D. Foo. (2012). Antecedents of Entrepreneurial Propensity: Findings from Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. SSRN Working Paper # 979049.

Module 6: Entrepreneurial Organizations

  • Foo, M.D. (2011). "Teams Developing Business Ideas: How Member Characteristics and Conflict Affect Member-Rated Team Effectiveness." Small Business Economics 36(1), pp. 33-46.
  • Feltman, L. (2009). Why a Business Plan? Penn State Small Business Development Center, PowerPoint.
  • Dunn, P., Short, L. E., & Liang, K. (2011). Human resource management importance in small business. Small Business Institute® Journal, 2(1).
  • Balasubramanyan, L. & Alter, T.R. (2009). Measuring the Efficiency of Financial Inputs for Entrepreneurship. Networks Financial institute Working Paper, (2009-WP), 03.
  • Schmidt, M. C., Kolodinsky, J. M., Flint, C., & Whitney, B. (2006). The impact of microenterprise development training on low-income clients. Journal of Extension, 44(2), 2FEA1.

Module 7: Entrepreneurial Networks

  • Johannisson, B., & Nilsson, A. (1989). Community entrepreneurs: networking for local development. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 1(1), 3-19.
  • Armanios, D., Eesley, C., Li, J., & Eisenhardt, K. (2012). Network Ties or Institutional Rules: How Do Entrepreneurs Acquire Resources to Innovate and Grow in Emerging Economies? Available at SSRN 1982817.
  • Pages, E., & Garmise, S. (2001). Building Entrepreneurial Networks. National Commission on Entrepreneurship.
  • Burt, R. S. (2004). Structural holes and good ideas. American Journal of Sociology, 110(2), 349-399.
  • Granovetter, M. S. (1973). The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology, 1360-1380.
  • Lichtenstein, G. A., & Lyons, T. S. (2006). Managing the community's pipeline of entrepreneurs and enterprises: A new way of thinking about business assets. Economic Development Quarterly, 20(4), 377-386.

Module 8: Measuring Entrepreneurship

  • Low, S., Henderson, J., & Weiler, S. (2005). Gauging a region's entrepreneurial potential. ECONOMIC REVIEW-FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF KANSAS CITY, 90(3), 61.
  • Goetz, S. J., & Rupasingha, A. (2009). Determinants of growth in non-farm proprietor densities in the US, 1990-2000. Small Business Economics, 32(4), 425-438.
  • Glaeser, E. L., & Kerr, W. R. (2009). Local industrial conditions and entrepreneurship: how much of the spatial distribution can we explain? Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 18(3), 623-663.

Module 9: The Entrepreneurial Milieu: Nations and Regions

  • Mitra, Chapter 6, pp. 111-135 (required textbook).
  • Pinillos, M. J., & Reyes, L. (2011). Relationship between individualist-collectivist culture and entrepreneurial activity: evidence from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data. Small Business Economics, 37(1), 23-37.
  • Stephan, U., & Uhlaner, L. M. (2010). Performance-based vs socially supportive culture: A cross-national study of descriptive norms and entrepreneurship. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(8), 1347-1364.
  • Aoyama, Y. (2009). Entrepreneurship and regional culture: The case of Hamamatsu and Kyoto, Japan. Regional Studies, 43(3), 495-512.
  • Camp, S. M. (2005). The innovation-entrepreneurship NEXUS: A national assessment of entrepreneurship and regional economic growth and development. SBA Office of Advocacy.
  • Blanchflower, D. G., Oswald, A., & Stutzer, A. (2001). Latent entrepreneurship across nations. European Economic Review, 45(4), 680-691.

Module 10: The Entrepreneurial Milieu: Communities and Local Culture

  • Lyons, T.S., Alter, T.R., Audretsch, D., & Augustine, D. (2012). Entrepreneurship and community: The next frontier of entrepreneurship inquiry. Entrepreneurship Research Journal 2(1), article 1.
  • Huggins, R. & Thompson, P. (2012). Entrepreneurship and community culture: A place-based study of their interdependency. Entrepreneurship Research Journal 2(1), article 4.
  • Hustedde, R. (2007). What's Culture Got to Do With It? Strategies for Strengthening an Entrepreneurial Culture. In Walzer, N. (ed.), Entrepreneurship and the Local Economic Development, 39-58.
  • Smith, H. L., Glasson, J., & Chadwick, A. (2005). The geography of talent: entrepreneurship and local economic development in Oxfordshire. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 17(6), 449-478.
  • Spilling, O. R. (2011). Mobilising the entrepreneurial potential in local community development. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 23(1-2), 23-35.
  • Fortunato, M.W.P. and McLaughlin, D. (2012). Interaction and Purpose in Highly Entrepreneurial Communities. Entrepreneurship Research Journal 2(1), article 6.

Module 11: The Entrepreneurial Milieu: Families and Family Entrepreneurship

  • Aldrich, H. E., & Cliff, J. E. (2003). The pervasive effects of family on entrepreneurship: Toward a family embeddedness perspective. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(5), 573-596.
  • Zahra, S. A. (2012). Organizational learning and entrepreneurship in family firms: exploring the moderating effect of ownership and cohesion. Small Business Economics, 38(1), 51-65.
  • Danes, S.M., Lee, J., Stafford, K., & Heck, R.K.Z. (2008). The effects of ethnicity, families and culture on entrepreneurial experience: An extension of sustainable family business theory. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 13(03), 229-268.
  • Liang, C. (2002). My love and my business-expectation and reality of couples working together in a new venture creation: The entrepreneurs' perception. Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal, 8(2).
  • Zahra, S. A., Hayton, J. C., & Salvato, C. (2004). Entrepreneurship in Family vs. Non‐Family Firms: A Resource‐Based Analysis of the Effect of Organizational Culture. Entrepreneurship theory and Practice, 28(4), 363-381.

Module 12: Learning in the Entrepreneurship Process

  • Mitra, Chapter 7-9, pp. 136-221 (required textbook).
  • Politis, D. (2005). The process of entrepreneurial learning: A conceptual framework. Entrepreneurship theory and practice, 29(4), 399-424.
  • Liang, C. L., & Dunn, P. (2008). Are entrepreneurs optimistic, realistic, both or fuzzy? Relationships between entrepreneurial traits and entrepreneurial learning. Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal, 14(1), 51-73.

Module 13: Entrepreneurship Policy and Institutions

  • Mitra, Chapter 10, pp. 222-248 (required textbook).
  • Shane, S. (2003). A general theory of entrepreneurship: The individual-opportunity nexus. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar. Chapter 7, pp. 145-160.
  • Henrekson, M., & Sanandaji, T. (2011). The interaction of entrepreneurship and institutions. Journal of Institutional Economics, 7(01), 47-75.
  • Dabson, B. (2007). Entrepreneurship as rural economic development policy: A changing paradigm. Entrepreneurship and local economic development, 21-37.
  • Goetz, S. J., Partridge, M. D., Deller, S., & Fleming, D. (2009). Evaluating rural entrepreneurship policy. Rural Development Paper, (46).

Module 14: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Local Economic Development

  • Mitra, Chapter 11-12, pp. 249-300 (required textbook).
  • Fortunato, M.W.P. & Alter, T.R. (2011). The Individual-Institutional-Opportunity Nexus: An Integrated Framework for Analyzing Entrepreneurship Development. Entrepreneurship Research Journal 1(1), Article 5.

Grading Policy

Weekly Reflections/Discussion -- 30%

Students will post reflections on the readings during the first ten weeks, and be expected to comment on the reflections of others and engage in course dialogue. These weekly reflections are each worth 3 points or 3% of the course grade.

Self-Guided Explorations -- 15%

Analysis Projects -- 30%

Students will complete two analysis projects at 15% apiece:

  1. One project will be a spatial analysis of entrepreneurship rates
  2. One project will be a contextual analysis of an entrepreneurship development effort and its outcomes

Final Project -- 25%

The final project will be a spatial analysis of entrepreneurship using the techniques taught in the course, and the development of a new strategy or initiative based on that analysis and a contextual understanding of the chosen community.

Bonus Points:

A 1-1.5 pages review of up to 4 optional readings (see Optional Readings in module Overview pages) can be completed for 1 point of extra credit each. Reviews should not only capture the key points of the article, but also the reader's thoughts about the reading, and critical insights/critiques regarding the article's strengths and weaknesses, and usefulness/application to community development practice.

The turnaround time for graded assignments is generally one week or less.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage
A 100% – 95%
A- < 95% – 90%
B+ < 90% – 86.7%
B < 86.7% – 83.4%
B- < 83.4% – 80%
C+ < 80% – 75%
C < 75% – 70%
D < 70% – 60%
F < 60%

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Graduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

Missed Modules

Students are expected to turn work in on the dates announced in the course. However, we realize that most of you are working professionals and will, from time to time, have to do something that will keep you from completing module work on time. If you have a conflict for work, travel, or family, please notify your instructors as soon as you can BEFORE your scheduled conflict. We are willing to work with you, but you have to work with us too! Likewise, this is a privilege and not a right--if you abuse it, we have the option of not accepting your work for that module or modules.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on the World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the Internet).
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  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the Internet.
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Accessibility Information

  • Accessibility statement for Canvas.


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Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.