The Entrepreneurial State Cannot Deliver Without an Entrepreneurial Society

Mark Sanders*, Erik Stam, Roy Thurik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

3 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


In The Entrepreneurial State and Mission Economy, Mazzucato argues that the state should adopt a proactive and entrepreneurial approach, setting ambitious missions that inspire collective action nurtured by emotions of urgency. By defining clear goals, the state can mobilize resources and talent from both the public and private sectors. We do not challenge Mazzucato’s facts or discredit her analysis. We agree that states successfully have and perhaps should continue to play a role in mobilizing talent and other resources around urgent societal challenges. Healthcare, climate change, and inequality are not problems that “markets” will solve on their own, and relevant and competent government organizations are an essential tool in our toolbox to address them. We would even agree that the state would do well to formulate clear missions and approach them in an entrepreneurial fashion. That is, experiment with an open mind and be willing to fail and learn, rather than develop interventions on the drawing board and then stick to them because of bureaucratic or political lock-in. But all that effort will only pay off, often in many unexpected ways, if we do not succumb to the fallacy of hindsight. That is, a well-defined and entrepreneurially executed state-led mission can only succeed in also generating a stream of valuable but largely unanticipated spin-off innovations, if the conditions for acting on such opportunities are right.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Studies in Entrepreneurship
Number of pages12
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Feb 2024

Publication series

SeriesInternational Studies in Entrepreneurship

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


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