Field of Expertise «Business Creation and Development»

Prof. Dr. Heiko Bergmann

Prof. Dr. Heiko Bergmann


Michael Rychener


Research associate

Büro 1-354
Dufourstasse 40a
9000 St. Gallen
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Büro 1-354
Dufourstasse 40a
9000 St. Gallen

Internal: Paris Koumbarakis
External: Prof. Dr. Thierry Volery, PhD Denis Grégoire, Prof. Dr. Per Davidsson, Prof. Dr. Paul Reynolds, Prof. Dr. Philipp Sieger


At any point in time, millions of people in the world are trying to start a new business. In Switzerland alone, more than 100’000 people are currently involved in such start-up activities. However, not all of these so-called nascent entrepreneurs manage to found an operating firm. In this research field, we focus on the entrepreneurial process from the first entrepreneurial intention to the establishment of a new firm. Specifically, our research questions are as follows:

  • What framework conditions are conducive for entrepreneurial activities and how to they interact with personal characteristics of the (potential) founders?
  • What characteristics and activities of entrepreneurs are likely to lead to the emergence of a profitable firm?
  • Why do people form entrepreneurial teams and how does that affect firm emergence?
  • We use longitudinal data and cross-sectional data from Switzerland and other countries to contribute to answering these important questions.

Key Publications

  • Müller, S., Kirst, A., Bergmann, H., Bird, B. (2022): Entrepreneurs’ actions and venture success: a structured literature review and suggestions for future research, Small Business Economics, Sept. 2022
  • Koumbarakis, P., Bergmann, H., & Volery, T. (2021). The impact of founder’s regulatory focus on the process of firm birth and firm abandonment. Management Decision, 59(5), 919–937.
  • Jeannet, J.-P., Volery, T., Bergmann, H., & Amstutz, C. (2021). Masterpieces of Swiss Entrepreneurship - Swiss SMEs Competing in Global Markets. Heidelberg: Springer International Publishing.
  • Bergmann, H., Geissler, M., Hundt, C., & Grave, B. S. (2018): The climate for entrepreneurship at higher education institutions. Research Policy, 47(4): 700–716.
  • Bergmann, H. (2017): The formation of opportunity beliefs among university entrepreneurs: an empirical study of research- and non-research-driven venture ideas. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 42(1): 116–140.
  • Bergmann, H., Hundt, C., & Sternberg, R. (2016): What makes student entrepreneurs? On the relevance (and irrelevance) of the university and the regional context for student start-ups. Small Business Economics, 47(1): 53–76.
  • Bergmann, H., & Stephan, U. (2013): Moving on from nascent entrepreneurship: measuring cross-national differences in the transition to new business ownership. Small Business Economics, 41(4): 945–959.
  • Davidsson, P., Gordon, S. R., & Bergmann, H. (Eds.). (2011): Nascent Entrepreneurship. Cheltenham, UK / Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Research Projects

  • Eye-opener or Business as Usual? – How an external shock affects already unprofitable part-time entrepreneurs (GFF Project)
  • Swiss Panel of Emerging Businesses (SwissPEB)
  • Global University Entrepreneurial Spirit Students' Survey (GUESSS)
  • SNF-Projekt on long venture gestation processes

Impact and transfer

  • Teaching at HSG, mainly at the bachelor profile area «Entrepreneurship»
  • Coordination of the course «Capstone projects» on bachelor level
  • Research conference «Renontres de St-Gall»
  • Executive education
  • Supervision of dissertations, master and bachelor theses
  • Policy reports and contract research