Meeting its Waterloo? Entrepreneurship, anchor firms and the resilient region

Benjamin Spigel, Tara Vinodrai

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract / Description of output

Within economic geography and the broader social sciences, the idea of regional resilience has gained traction. The received wisdom is that anchor firms or institutions can play a critical role in allowing regions to adapt and respond to economic shocks. Indeed, the Waterloo region in Canada is often described as resilient on account of its highly skilled labour market, dense civic governance networks, and strong regional institutions and regional actors, particularly in support of entrepreneurship and the technology sector (Wolfe 2010; Vinodrai 2015). Yet, the changing fortunes of one of the region's (and Canada's) largest technology firms (Blackberry, formerly Research In Motion) provides an opportunity for empirical study of this very issue. Using a unique dataset drawn from social media sources, we trace the career pathways and entrepreneurial activity of highly skilled, former Blackberry workers to better understand the impact of anchor firm on Waterloo's entrepreneurial ecosystem. We find relatively low levels of entrepreneurial activity by of former Blackberry workers, with many finding work with other major regional employers and others exiting the region altogether.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2017
EventAssociation of American Geographers Annual Meeting - Boston, United States
Duration: 4 Apr 20179 Apr 2017


ConferenceAssociation of American Geographers Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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