Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management,
WNY Prosperity Fellow
My research lies at the interface of entrepreneurship, innovation, and strategic management. Innovative products rarely result from isolated sparks of genius; instead, they evolve and develop through interaction and collaboration with many parties, including customers, suppliers, and capital providers. My research explores how firms navigate this dynamic process to improve innovation, funding, and customer acquisition. The first stream of my research examines how resource constrained ventures deal with information asymmetry to attract stakeholders such as investors or customers and how early feedback from stakeholders impacts venture innovativeness and performance. My second stream of interest includes the potential of innovation and entrepreneurship to affect social change. I am currently investigating how aspects of one's entrepreneurial identity influence the decision to pursue a social venture and how the prevailing norms, expectations, and stereotypes (i.e., social roles) concerning how social entrepreneurs should behave influence external stakeholder support. My third stream of research examines how organizations utilize co-creation, inclusive innovation, open innovation, and community-driven crowdsourcing to permeate firm boundaries allowing firms to combine internal and external knowledge and resources in their innovation process.
The context of my research usually involves crowdfunding for its potential to help entrepreneurs fund early-stage ventures where traditional financing is not available. Another fascinating side of crowdfunding is the opportunities available for product creators to test early assumptions and learn through experiments, in line with the lean startup methodology.
An Academic’s Story
Chris Courtney is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management at the University of Richmond and a Western New York Prosperity Fellow. Chris graduated from the University at Buffalo with a Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship. Chris is the recipient of the Dean's Award for Ph.D. Student Research Excellence, awarded to a senior School of Management Ph.D. student who has demonstrated exceptional research and the highest potential as a scholar, based on journal publications, research awards, presentations, and papers at top conferences. Chris's research is focused on crowdfunding for its potential to help entrepreneurs fund early-stage ventures where traditional financing is not available. His work has been published in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, one of the leading entrepreneurship journals. He also worked with the Kauffman Foundation to develop an industry report on entrepreneurial financing titled "Changing Capital: Emerging Trends in Entrepreneurial Finance." He has been invited to present his crowdfunding research at numerous conferences. His research has also gained media attention and is featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, News Day, and Crowdfund Insider. Chris was the Arun Jain Fellowship recipient while working on his MBA, and his team won third place in the 2012 NYS Business Plan Competition. Before returning to school, he ran his own e-commerce business for a decade, providing reverse logistic and remanufacturing solutions to larger retailers. He has taught Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management courses at the University of Richmond and the University of Buffalo. He also served as an adjunct instructor in the Computer Science department at Niagara County Community College. He previously served on the Board of Directors for the Greater South Buffalo Chamber of Commerce. He and his family served as the Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes, on the Family Advisory Council at Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo, and as volunteers for Wings Flights of Hope. Chris has worked at the Erie County Industrial Development Agency in the International Program, helping small businesses expand internationally. He completed a two-year professional development program and is now LeaderCORE certified at the Role Model level. Chris was named the 2017 "Someone You Should Know" by the West Seneca Bee.
Venturing for others, subject to role expectations? A role congruity theory approach to social venture crowdfunding
Forthcoming, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice
Scant attention has been paid to the differences in fundraising for social versus commercial ventures. We adopt a role congruity theory perspective to argue that because women and people of color are more congruent with role expectations attributed to social entrepreneurs, they experience better fundraising performance when raising crowdfunded capital for social ventures compared to commercial ventures. We then argue entrepreneur race heightens fundraising differences for men and women. Results indicate women experience better funding performance when funding a social versus commercial venture—an effect that is larger for women of color. Men of color experience worse performance when funding a social venture. We find no differences for White men.
Resolving information asymmetry: Signaling, endorsement, and crowdfunding success
2017, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice
This paper draws on information economics to examine when signals and endorsements obtained from multiple information sources enhance or diminish one another’s effects. We propose that signals through startup actions (use of media) and characteristics (crowdfunding experience) can mitigate information asymmetry concerns about project quality and founder credibility, enhancing the project’s likelihood of attaining funding. Further, we posit that while startup-originated signals offset each other’s effects, third party endorsements (sentiment expressed in backer comments) validate and complement startup-originated signals. Empirical analyses based on a comprehensive dataset of crowdfunding projects on the Kickstarter website during 2009-2015 confirm our predictions.
Changing Capital: Emerging Trends in Entrepreneurial Finance.
2016, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Based on interviews and data collected, we identified the following trends:
1. The VC industry is shifting at the biggest and smallest ends of the market.
2. Online platforms—for crowdfunding, angel syndication, and lending—are increasingly important options for seed-stage and early-stage startup needs.
3. Sources of capital are emerging outside of traditional geographical hubs.
4. Women are playing more decision-making roles in entrepreneurial capital.
5. There is robust experimentation with differentiated capital models.
MBA - Entrepreneurship
MBA Opening Residency
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2015
Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Graduate Level Supervised Research
Academies Introductory Seminar
Introduction to Computer Information Systems
Introduction to Spreadsheets
Intermediate Spreadsheet Applications
Introduction to Computer Application