Colin Mason

Colin Mason
University of Glasgow | UofG · Adam Smith Business School

MA (Hons), PhD

About

220
Publications
140,444
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
9,231
Citations
Introduction
Founding editor and co-editor of Venture Capital: an international journal of entrepreneurial financee (Routlege), launched in 1999.
Additional affiliations
September 2012 - present
University of Glasgow
Position
  • Professor of Entrepreneurship
September 2001 - September 2012
University of Strathclyde
September 1978 - August 2001
University of Southampton
Education
October 1975 - September 1978
The University of Manchester
Field of study
  • Urban-economic geography
October 1971 - June 1975
The University of Edinburgh
Field of study
  • Geography and Economic History

Publications

Publications (220)
Article
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 quickly gave rise to a concern that the resulting economic uncertainty would produce a collapse in angel investing. In view of the critical role that business angels play in financing the start of the entrepreneurial pipeline, a decline in their investment activity would have a negative effect on...
Article
This paper addresses the question of how the informal learning processes of angel investors shape the way in which they assess new investment opportunities. Previous research has suggested that angels learn from their previous investment activity. However, the measurement of investment experience as a function of years of investing and number of in...
Article
The supply of entrepreneurial finance in Europe is constrained by the geographical fragmentation of its capital market. The need to facilitate more cross-border investing by business angels – the main source of early stage finance–is recognized. A study of business angels on the island of Ireland identifies three constraints on cross-border investi...
Article
Full-text available
Although there are a handful of studies on business angel investment returns, the business angel literature has given little or no attention to exits and the exit strategy. This is surprising given that a primary objective of investing is to achieve a capital gain through some form of liquidity event. Using the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) as...
Article
Full-text available
The extent to which women participate in the angel investment market has become an important topic of research and policy interest. Based on UK survey data, we demonstrate that there are systematic but not unequivocal differences between women and men investors on a number of key investor and investment characteristics. We also report indicative ev...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores the engagement of home-based businesses in digital trading, measured as proportion of their sales from buying and selling services and products online of all their sales. Findings are drawn from a sample of 994 Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses that are members of the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland. Multivariate fin...
Article
Full-text available
A think piece for The Conversation on entrepreneurial ecosystems. We argue that a healthy ecosystem needs to have a diverse body of entrepreneurship support organisations that are interconnected and work in harmony with one another. In other words, it takes an ecosystem to raise a successful startup. Link: https://theconversation.com/it-takes-an-ec...
Article
The business angel market is changing. Business angels are increasingly investing as part of organised and managed angel groups alongside other angels rather than on their own. This development has significant implications for research, challenging the traditional definition of a business angel, changing the characteristics of investments made by b...
Article
This paper reviews the circumstances surrounding the launch of Venture Capital: An International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance in 1999. It highlights a number of significant changes in the structure of the entrepreneurial finance market over the past 20 years, notably the decline of “classic” venture capital, the effective closure of the small...
Article
Emerging trends from the developing venture capital industries of three smaller peripheral economies (Finland, New Zealand, and Estonia), demonstrate that government policy can overcome scale and distance barriers to assist in establishing venture capital to support innovative potential high growth ventures. Eight common policy themes for successfu...
Article
Equity crowdfunding has rapidly established itself as an important part of the funding landscape for nascent entrepreneurial ventures. To date, however, little is known about the nature of the demand for equity crowdfunding or its impact on recipient firms. This article draws on an interview-based study of entrepreneurs of 42 equity crowdfunded sta...
Chapter
Full-text available
Despite the growing evidence on the importance of the neighbourhood, entrepreneurship studies have largely neglected the role of neighbourhoods. This book addresses the nexus between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities, confirming not only the importance of ‘the local’ in entrepreneurship, but also filling huge gaps in the knowledge ba...
Book
Full-text available
Despite the growing evidence on the importance of the neighbourhood, entrepreneurship studies have largely neglected the role of neighbourhoods. This book addresses the nexus between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities, confirming not only the importance of ‘the local’ in entrepreneurship, but also filling huge gaps in the knowledge ba...
Article
Full-text available
The concept of entrepreneurial ecosystems has quickly established itself as one of the latest ‘fads’ in entrepreneurship research. At face value, this kind of systemic approach to entrepreneurship offers a new and distinctive path for scholars and policy makers to help understand and foster growth-oriented entrepreneurship. However, its lack of spe...
Article
Business angels (BAs) are recognized as playing a significant role in stimulating entrepreneurial activity. With the decline in both bank lending and venture capital investment since the onset of the global economic crisis, government efforts to stimulate BA activity have become a more significant component in strategies to increase the level of en...
Article
Full-text available
Promoting high growth firms (HGFs) has become a strong fixation within enterprise policy. This is a debate article seeking to examine and challenge the mythology perpetuated by policy makers and embedded within high growth entrepreneurship policy frameworks. Within the article we argue that a number of distinctive ‘myths’ have become deeply embedde...
Chapter
This chapter provides conclusions regarding all contributions to this volume, which has explored the under-researched interconnections between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities of place. The key concern has been to contribute to knowledge about how residential areas where people live (neighbourhoods) and interact with co-residents an...
Article
The debate on patient capital, particularly in the varieties of capitalism literature, concentrates on institutions and public markets. In this paper, we take an entrepreneurial finance perspective to examine the investment attitudes and behaviours of business angels. These represent the biggest source of external risk capital for new and young gro...
Article
Full-text available
Co-investment funds – which invest alongside private investors, especially business angels – thereby leveraging their networks and experience and minimizing public sector transaction costs – are a recent approach by governments in various countries to address the early stage entrepreneurial funding gap which is perceived as a barrier to the ability...
Article
Business angel investing – a key source of finance for entrepreneurial businesses – is rapidly evolving from a fragmented and largely anonymous activity dominated by individuals investing on their own to one that is increasingly characterised by groups of investors investing together through managed angel groups. The implications of this change hav...
Article
Full-text available
A major focus of research on business angels has examined their decision-making processes and investment criteria. As business angels reject most opportunities they receive, this article explores the reasons informing such decisions. In view of angel heterogeneity, investment opportunities might be expected to be rejected for differing reasons. Two...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This is NACO's 6th annual report on Angel investing in Canada. It is based on information provided by the manages of 32 angel groups out of 40 that were approached. The members of these 32 groups had made a total of 283 investments in 2015, investing just over $133m. The survey collected information on three topics: the angel groups themselves; the...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have acknowledged the ineffectiveness of enterprise policy. However, the reasons for its ineffectiveness remain a matter for debate. This study examines the extent to which the ineffectiveness of enterprise policy can be attributed to the way it has been implemented. Interviews with central government policy-makers, Regional Develo...
Chapter
Full-text available
The ultimate purpose of investing in an entrepreneurial business is to achieve a financial return. Yet there is little discussion in the entrepreneurial finance literature on the exit process and only limited evidence on returns. This chapter focuses on business angels. It argues that the main challenge for business angels is in achieving an exit....
Technical Report
Full-text available
SQW Ltd (SQW), working alongside academics from Glasgow University and Middlesex University were appointed by the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) in April 2014 to undertake research into early stage and growth finance in Northern Ireland. The purpose of the study was to provide guidance on the development of early stage and g...
Article
This paper extends the literature on the investment decision-making of business angels. Using insights from the emerging body of research on entrepreneurial learning processes, particularly the use of heuristics and the nature of learning from meagre experience, we explore whether angels learn from experience, how they learn and what they learn. Th...
Article
Full-text available
Enterprise policy is increasingly favouring support for high growth firms (HGFs). However, this may be less effective in promoting new jobs and economic development in peripheral regions. This issue is addressed by a study of HGFs in Scotland. Scottish HGFs differ in a number of respects from the stylised facts in the literature. They create less e...
Technical Report
Full-text available
An investigation of quantitive and qualitative methodologies to evaluate a Swedish public programme providing venture capital to entrepreneurs in the regions via a co-investment fund structure.
Article
This paper examines UK public policy addressing the seed and early stage equity finance gap since the global financial crisis (GFC). Drawing on lessons learned from recent studies of UK and international government equity schemes, two contemporary models of government-backed equity finance are examined. The focus is on the Enterprise Capital Funds...
Technical Report
This report was requested by Tillväxtanalys - The Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis (Growth Analysis) from the four academic researchers it had invited to advise it on the formulation of a rigorous evaluation process and methodology for the Swedish Regional VC Co-Investment Funds Programme (CIF). It is important to understand that the four...
Technical Report
Full-text available
It is well known that small businesses, sole traders and the self-employed form the backbone of the economy. What is less appreciated is that more than half of these businesses operate in, or from, the home. The Scottish Government estimates that 56% of businesses in Scotland are home-based. This report provides the first ever profile of home-based...
Article
Full-text available
It is well known that small businesses, sole traders and the self-employed form the backbone of the economy. What is less appreciated is that more than half of these businesses operate in, or from, the home. The Scottish Government estimates that 56% of businesses in Scotland are home-based. This report provides the first ever profile of home-based...
Article
Full-text available
Brown R., Gregson G. and Mason C. A post-mortem of regional innovation policy failure: Scotland's Intermediate Technology Initiative (ITI), Regional Studies. The Intermediate Technology Initiative (ITI) was one of the most ambitious ‘systemic’ regional innovation policy instruments developed in the UK in recent years. However, little of the ITI's a...
Article
Full-text available
The exit process has been largely ignored in business angel research.. The practitioner community identifies the difficulty in achieving exits as the most pressing problem for investors. This has been attributed to the failure of investors to adopt an exit-centric approach to investing. The validity of this claim is examined via a study of the inve...
Article
There are two principal sources of venture capital for entrepreneurial companies. The institutional venture capital market, comprising professional venture capital firms, if the more familiar. However, despite its high profile it actually finances only a small number of businesses. Moreover, its investment focus favours larger, established business...
Article
Full-text available
The 2008 financial crisis has transformed the financial environment for small and medium-sized enterprises, resulting in significant declines in the availability of bank lending and venture capital. This has prompted government intervention to improve the availability of debt and equity capital. Whereas there are comprehensive statistics on bank le...
Article
Full-text available
Entrepreneurship policy has been criticised for its lack of effectiveness. Some scholars, such as Scott Shane in this journal, have argued that it is ‘bad’ public policy. But this simply begs the question why the legislative process should generate bad policy? To answer this question this study examines the UK’s enterprise policy process in the 200...
Article
Full-text available
Promoting new technology-based firms is the cornerstone of technology entrepreneurship policies in advanced industrial economies. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative empirical evidence from the UK, this paper provides a critique of these policy frameworks. The aggregate analysis shows that vast majority of these firms are micro firms, a small m...
Article
Full-text available
This report makes the case that current and future graduates need to be capable of enterprising and entrepreneurial behaviour to cope with increased uncertainty and complexity arising from fundamental changes in the labour market, as well as from the changing aspirations of the millennial generation. This requires universities to create entrepreneu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Increasing the number of high growth firms (HGFs) is now a major focus for industry policy in developed countries. However, existing approaches are proving ineffective. Simply creating supportive framework conditions is insufficient. Creating favourable environments for business start-ups is not leading to the creation of more HGFs. And transaction...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the nature of high growth firms (HGFs) and how they are supported by public policy. HGFs have become a key focus for public policy within the UK and across many OECD economies in recent years. In parallel with this, there has been a growing body of research and evidence which has accumulated on the nature of these firms. However...
Article
Full-text available
The view that entrepreneurship education should be based on experiential approaches to learning is gaining ground. However, there is both little discussion in the literature on what form experiential education should take and a paucity of examples of experiential approaches to learning. This paper helps to fill these gaps. It provides a case study...
Article
Business angel investing – a key source of finance for entrepreneurial businesses – is evolving from a fragmented and largely anonymous activity dominated by individuals investing on their own to one that is increasingly characterised by groups of investors investing together through managed angel syndicates. The implications of this change have be...
Book
This Handbook charts the development of venture capital research in light of the global financial crisis, starting with an analysis of the current venture capital market and the changing nature of the business angel market. Looking at governance structures, the performance of venture capitalists in terms of investments, economic impact and human ca...
Article
Concerns that small firms encounter credit constraints are well entrenched in the literature, despite widespread empirical evidence that a relatively small proportion of small firms have their loan applications rejected. However, many firms may be discouraged from applying for fear of rejection. These businesses are the focus of this paper. Based o...
Article
Full-text available
High growth firms play a disproportionate role in contributing to the economic vitality of regional economies. These are precisely the types of businesses that policy makers need to support in order to generate economic growth. Despite this, the article argues that current regional industrial and enterprise promotion policies in the UK are poorly e...
Book
The second volume of the Handbook of Research on Venture Capital provides an important guidepost for venture capital researchers. As Landström and Mason point out, the nature of venture capital has changed dramatically over the last ten years. The asset class as a whole has failed to return principal and the old model is under tremendous strain. Th...
Article
Full-text available
It is now recognised that many businesses are unsuccessful in raising equity finance because they are not investment ready. This has prompted various small business support organisations in the UK to develop investment ready programmes. However, their emphasis is on information transmission, diagnostics and presentational skills. These are necessar...
Article
Full-text available
Mason C. and Pierrakis Y. Venture capital, the regions and public policy: the United Kingdom since the post-2000 technology crash, Regional Studies. The geography of venture capital in the United Kingdom has been shaped since the year 2000 by a significant increase in public sector venture capital funds. Venture capital investments are now less con...
Article
Full-text available
Home-based businesses comprise a significant proportion of the small business sector. But because they are invisible, their economic significance is assumed to be minor. This paper challenges this view. The majority are full-time businesses. One in ten has achieved significant scale. They create jobs for more than just the owner(s). They are concen...
Article
Full-text available
Writing in Small Business Economics Scott Shane argues that policy-makers should stop subsidising start-ups and instead focus on supporting the small subset of new businesses with high growth potential. However, both Shane and other scholars who have made the same argument only offer broad-brush proposals to achieve this objective. The aim of this...
Article
This paper argues that home-based businesses (HBBs) do not deserve their Cinderella status in small business research and should attract much more attention from policy-makers. Over half of all small firms in advanced economies are home-based. Various factors are likely to drive this proportion higher. Moreover, UK studies show that HBB are serious...
Article
The nature and extent of complementarities between the informal and formal venture capital markets has been the subject of limited research. This paper explores systematically the nature and extent of complementarities between the formal and informal venture capital markets in the UK, and identifies the opportunities for additional collaboration. E...
Article
The existence of an equity gap in the provision of venture capital has prompted a range of initiatives by public sector bodies to stimulate the venture capital market. This paper reviews the rationale for public sponsorship of venture capital and summarizes the four papers which comprise this special issue on regional venture capital.
Article
Full-text available
Access by SMEs to finance is constrained by demand-side weaknesses. Most businesses are not investment ready. Their owners are unwilling to seek external equity finance and those who are willing do not understand what equity investors are looking for or how to 'sell' themselves and their businesses to potential investors. These weaknesses, in turn,...
Article
Full-text available
Commercialisation of intellectual property (IP), particularly patent becomes an important agenda in most universities. Patents that were licensed to established companies in return for royalties recognised as a traditional mode to commercialise university IPs. As government funding are getting harder to obtain, and demand from the stake holders to...
Article
Full-text available
This paper extends the literature on the investment decision-making of business angels. Using insights from entrepreneurial learning theory we explore whether angels learn from experience, how they learn and what they learn. These issues are addressed using Verbal Protocol Analysis, a methodology for examining decision-making in real time, on three...
Article
The venture capital industry is widely thought to be in crisis. The huge amount of money that flowed into the industry in recent years has driven down returns. This has had knock-on effects on fund-raising and investment activity. Many commentators believe that the industry needs to downsize. There are signs that this is already occurring. New inve...
Article
Full-text available
The ability of small firms to access finance is hindered by persistent market failure, which creates funding gaps for new businesses, particularly in technology sectors, seeking small amounts of finance. This has prompted various forms of public sector intervention to increase the supply of both debt and risk finance. For the past decade (longer in...
Article
Hybrid venture capital funds have a small positive impact on firm performance. This paper explores the implications of this finding for public policy in the United Kingdom.
Article
Franchised businesses operate on the basis of granting individual franchisees trading rights to serve territories or market areas on either an exclusive or a non-exclusive basis. The design of these territories is generally undertaken during the roll-out phase of the franchise. However, these territories and market areas may become sub-optimal over...
Article
In a meritocratic society it is assumed that the chance of achieving occupational mobility (OM) is not strongly influenced by one's starting position in terms of class or ethnicity. This paper seeks to explain the drivers of the high levels of OM achieved by one ethnically defined group: the Scots. Educational attainment is shown to be particularly...
Article
Full-text available
The view that excessive regulation constrains small business growth has been a persistent theme within business and policy communities, although recent studies have demonstrated the actual effects of regulation to be relatively modest. A prior small-scale study proposed four reasons why employment legislation does “not damage” small firms. We attem...