Digital social entrepreneurship: the N-Helix response to stakeholders’ COVID-19 needs

María J. Ibáñez, Maribel Guerrero, Claudia Yáñez-Valdés, Sebastián Barros-Celume

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This study explores the emergence of a new entrepreneurship phenomenon (digital social entrepreneurship) as a result of the collaboration among many agents (N-Helix), given the government’s limited capacity to respond to the stakeholders’ needs satisfaction related to an exogenous event (e.g., the COVID-19 pandemic). Our theory development is based on three ongoing academic debates related to (a) the unrepresentativeness of the stakeholder theory in entrepreneurship research; (b) the emergence of digital social entrepreneurship (DSE) as a bridge between stakeholders’ needs, socio-economic actors, and digital-social initiatives; and (c) the role of N-Helix collaborations to facilitate the emergence of global knowledge-intensive initiatives and the rapid adoptions of open innovations. Our results support our assumptions about the positive mediation effect of DSE in the relationship between N-Helix collaborations and stakeholders’ satisfaction. Notably, results show how pandemic has intensified these relationships and how DSE in N-Helix collaborations can generate social impacts globally. Some implications for policy-makers have emerged from our results that should be considered during/post-COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-579
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Digital social entrepreneurship
  • Knowledge transfer
  • N-Helix collaboration
  • Stakeholders theory
  • Technology transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Accounting
  • General Engineering


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