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At the end of August, Halmstad University hosted the 22nd McGill Conference on International Entrepreneurship (IE). Since its founding, the McGill Conference has played an important role developing research and scholarship in the field of IE. The conference is known for dealing with the most current issues in International Entrepreneurship.
The conference, which was initiated by Professor Hamid Etemad and his colleagues at McGill University Montreal, Canada, was first held in 1998.
– For the first conference, we could not find more than 29 scholars who were interested. We paid for their travels and hotels, and for three of them, we even paid them to come and stay with us. That was the field, founder Hamid Etemad says.
It might have started out small, but has become the most influential conference within the field of IE. This year, over 90 researchers from eighteen countries participated. Focus was on future development of International Entrepreneurship.
– During the conference, we discussed how research in the field of IE can increase the impact on organisations and policy, and how education can be developed. Future challenges within the field of research is for instance the way in which digitization, combined with changes in trade policies, alters the conditions for international entrepreneurship, Svante Andersson, Professor in Marketing at Halmstad University and this year’s chairperson, says.
Keynote speaker David Crick, Paul Desmarais Professor of International Entrepreneurship and Marketing in the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa, Canada, also has his focus set on the future of IE.
– In my keynote address, I was pleased to be able to reflect on the potential academic/practitioner divide. Specifically, how after 20 years of international entrepreneurship research at McGill Conferences, ways that academics may add value to practitioners and students, as prospective practitioners, in the way we facilitate experiential learning, Crick says.
Keynote speaker Nicole Coviello, Lazaridis Research Professor and Professor of Marketing at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics, Canada, emphasizes the positive effect that the McGill Conference on International Entrepreneurship has had on field’s research community.
– The McGill IE Conference is a great example of a research meeting that allows junior scholars to really interact with, and learn from, more experienced academics. It has helped developed a strong community of over 600 (known) researchers around the world, all studying international entrepreneurship. The Halmstad version of this year’s conference was especially good. It was extremely well organized with an interesting programme, outstanding social events, and a warm reception from the city and business community, Coviello says.
The future for the McGill Conference on International Entrepreneurship looks very bright.
– For the next four years, the conferences are already planned. Universities are queuing to get the chance to host it. Next year, we are going to Odense, and the year after that, we go to three different universities in Rio de Janeiro. People give me a lot of credit, but actually, McGill should give all the other institutions credit, because they are the ones who are developing the conference, Etemad concludes.
TEXT: CHRISTA AMNELL
PHOTO: IDA FRIDVALL/JOACHIM BRINK