Factors Enabling Student Start-ups to Commercialise Scientific Research for Demonstrating Social Impact


  • Dwitya Amry WMG, University of Warwick
  • Ali Ahmad WMG, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom
  • Dawei Lu WMG, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom




Student Start-up, Academic entrepreneurship, Social Impact, Frugal Innovation, Social Innovation, Case Study, Indonesia


This research highlights contributions of student actors’ research commercialisation efforts within the academic entrepreneurship (AE) landscape. Our review of the AE literature shows that the potential inherent in campus-based student enterprise activity has not been fully acknowledged within the AE literature. We argue that student start-ups are a viable means for demonstrating the social impact of scientific research. In this research, the aim is to map the student-led enterprise emergence and development mechanism as a vehicle for facilitating university technology transfer. Through a longitudinal case study design, the focal student enterprise’s enacted process to commercialize university generated scientific research is investigated. It is shown how new technology stemming from university research was able to enhance the livelihoods of local fish farmers through the agency of student entrepreneurs. Light is shed on the enabling factors and wider university level arrangements that triggered and subsequently facilitated the case entrepreneurial endeavour. We find that an interplay of both micro- and meso-level factors enabled the case enterprise to achieve both commercial success and demonstrate social impact.

Author Biographies

Ali Ahmad, WMG, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom

Associate Professor

Dawei Lu, WMG, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom