As from 1 February, the Faculty of Economics and Business appointed Laurens Sloot as Professor by special appointment of Entrepreneurship in Retailing. Sloot will focus on the success factors of independent entrepreneurs and on the consequences of the increasing digitization of retailing. The new chair was established at the request of Stichting Lokaal Retail Ondernemerschap (LRO; the foundation of local retail entrepreneurship) for a period of five years.
It is often evident that shops run by independent entrepreneurs grow faster than shops that are run by branch managers. The question is how that is possible and which characteristics make an entrepreneur a successful entrepreneur’, comments Sloot on the focus areas of his future research. ‘I also want to find out more about how entrepreneurs should deal with increasing digitization. Which chances and challenges does this offer and how can independent entrepreneurs cater to clients who want to order digitally, via online platforms such as Zalando, Amazon and Bol.com?’
The LRO foundation has as its goal the maintenance and collective support of independent entrepreneurship at the local level. They are working towards this by establishing academic chair positions, facilitating PhD students and organizing meetings and conferences for independent entrepreneurs and franchisees.
The LRO foundation is delighted by the establishment of the chair by special appointment in Entrepreneurship in Retail, says Hans van Well, chair of the foundation. ‘The establishment of this chair is a big incentive for academic research into the wide professional field of independent entrepreneurs in retail. The chair could support the image of independent entrepreneurship in retail. Despite the huge success of many independent entrepreneurs, the media often focus on retail chains – yet independent entrepreneurs are often the ones who offer much added social value on a local level.’
An important goal is that independent entrepreneurs and franchisees benefit from the new chair position, Sloot posits. ‘ Besides the academic publications that I will write together with a yet-to-be-recruited PhD student, we will also share our most important findings with independent entrepreneurs in retail via reports, workshops and seminars.’
Laurens Sloot is also programme director of the Executive MBA at the University of Groningen Business School. He is also the (part-time) director of EFMI Business School. Laurens Sloot held the Anton Dreesman chair for Retail Marketing at the department of Marketing of the University of Groningen for the past eight years.
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