Digital Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: an empirical contribution using SMAA


  • Alessia Munnia Department of Economics and Business, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
  • Salvatore Corrente Department of Economics and Business, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
  • James Cunningham Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  • Melita Nicotra Department of Economics and Business, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
  • Marco Romano Department of Economics and Business, University of Catania, Catania, Italy



digital entrepreneurial pillars, digital society, entrepreneurship measurement framework, productive entrepreneurship, digital index, SMAA.


Framing of the research. The concept of digital entrepreneurial ecosystem stands at the intersection between the concepts of digital ecosystem and entrepreneurial ecosystem. We start from data summarising the most common digital entrepreneurial pillars emerging in literature to provide robust and reliable measurement of digital entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Purpose of the paper. The aim of the paper is to measure and compare digital entrepreneurial ecosystems in European countries in ensuring a productive context for new venture creation.

Methodology. We apply Stochastic Multicriteria Acceptability Analysis (SMAA) as a precise, robust, and reliable measurement approach to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) data.

Results. The main contribution of this work is the provision of probabilistic ranking that is more robust and reliable than the conventional single ranking derived from composite indices constructed with a single weight vector.

Research limitations. We applied SMAA allowing for a limited variation of the weights assigned in the computation of DESI. Allowing for a wider range of variation may provide further relevant insights.

Managerial implications. Our work provides relevant managerial implications for policy makers and businesses. The analysis identifies strengths and weaknesses of the different countries thus offering useful guidelines for policy makers aiming to support territorial development and for businesses to identify market opportunities.

Originality of the paper. Most indices are computed relying on fixed weights affected by a degree of subjectivity. The application of SMAA methodology allows to consider how a variation in the assigned weights is able to affect the final ranking.


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