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It Takes a Village: A Case Study of Business Development and Innovation in a UAS/AUS Ecosystem to Address Critical Industry Challenges
ISSN: 2641-9637, e-ISSN: 2641-9645
Published June 16, 2021 by SAE International in United States
Citation: Whitney, D., Hanson PhD, S., Dunlevy, M., and Shelton, R., "It Takes a Village: A Case Study of Business Development and Innovation in a UAS/AUS Ecosystem to Address Critical Industry Challenges," SAE Int. J. Adv. & Curr. Prac. in Mobility 4(1):249-259, 2022, https://doi.org/10.4271/2021-01-1002.
Entrepreneurial innovation that spurs economic development requires a collaborative cluster of cooperative effort, across a diverse ecosystem of partners. Literature provides resounding evidence to support the notion that an innovative, entrepreneurial ecosystem is critical to both successful economic development and industry sector growth. The UAS/AUS industry sector is a fast-growing sector across the United States, with regional leadership demonstrated in North Dakota, California, North Carolina, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. This case study is focused on investigating how the North Dakota autonomous systems ecosystem continues to evolves and develop mechanisms and partnerships to address industry pain points, facilitate cutting edge research, ensure high-quality UAS/AUS testing, and support an adaptive business development pipeline across the entrepreneurial life cycle. This paper presents a theoretical overview of entrepreneurial ecosystem theory as well as a rich description of a UAS venture interacting with the ecosystem to support business incubation. The case study found support for the interconnected nature of the interactions in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the ability of a startup to succeed and grow. The case study further identified a weakness in entrepreneurial ecosystems focused on policy and regulation when innovation outpaces public support, laws and organizational policy.