Delve: Scale Deep Not Up for Sustainable Local Entrepreneurship, with Anna Kim and Suntae Kim

Published: 24 November 2022

How would definitions of business growth and success change if entrepreneurship ventures decided that instead of scaling up, they would “scale deep”? While scaling up allows an organization to pursue fast expansion with goals of going national or global, scaling deep lets an organization pursue enduring growth and sustainability anchored to its original location.

In economically polarized and impoverished areas, venture-capital-backed entrepreneurship, often heralded as “transformational” or “revitalizing,” might not have as positive or as lasting an impact as alternative forms of resourcing, such as ventures that make do with local resources at hand to solve local problems.

On the Delve podcast, Desautels Faculty of Management professor Anna Kim and her co-author Johns Hopkins Carey Business School Professor Suntae Kim discuss their eight-year study of two entrepreneurship-nurturing organizations in Detroit, revealing important differences in resourcing modes and venture growth. What they observed in that city is happening in many other places, whether small towns or big cities, rural or urban, where the issue of revitalization is top of mind.

With the scaling deep approach, the more locally embedded approach, because you keep working with local partners, utilizing local resources, and making connections in those local contexts, your services and products become very, very meaningful locally,” explains Anna Kim. “But it doesn't actually mean a lot outside of Detroit or outside of a certain neighborhood. So it actually anchors them even more deeply in the local context.”

For more insights, listen to the Delve podcast with Anna Kim and Suntae Kim

Delve - Thought leadership from McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management

Bringing Insight to the Surface

Founded in 2019, Delve is the official thought leadership publication of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management. Under the direction of Professor Saku Mantere, inaugural Editor-in-Chief, Delve features the latest in management thinking that stretches perspectives, sparks new ideas, and brings clarity to decision-makers at all levels and across sectors.


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