Björn Berggren is professor in business administration, and his main research interests are entrepreneurship, real estate, financing of SMEs and regional development. Over the years, Björn has done a lot of research on the intricate relationship between a functioning financial and competence infrastructure and the entrepreneurship and growth of local businesses. The research undertaken has had a very practical focus which has led to a variety of activities in the local context.
Björn Berggren is programme director for the department’s doctoral programme in the built environment; management, economics and law.
At the Royal Institute of Technology, Björn has previously been programme director for the bachelor programme in real estate and finance as well as the bachelor programme in real estate development with agency. He has been teaching at the leading Swedish universities in entrepreneurship, real estate, management and marketing for the past 20 years.
Björn received his PhD at the department of business studies at Uppsala University in 2002 and was conferred the title of associate professor in applied financial economics at the Royal Institute of Technology in 2011.
At present, Björn Berggren is primarily doing research in two projects, which are presented below.
Entrepreneurship, financial infrastructure and regional development
Small and medium sized firms are extremely important for the Swedish economy in that they create the majority of all new employment, play a crucial role in generating innovations and contribute to the renewal of the Swedish industry. In order to fulfil these different roles, they have to overcome obstacles and exploit opportunities. Previous research has indicated that securing access to finance and relevant competence are two important resources that SMEs need in order to grow and prosper.
For the past 15 years, a research and development project has been undertaken that studies the obstacles and opportunities that the local businesses have, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The project has been undertaken in close cooperation with local, regional and national stakeholders such as banks, entrepreneurs, civil servants, politicians and public and private financiers and investors. Within the project, different ideas to improve the situation for local businesses are analyzed, implemented and evaluated. Through the cooperation, the efforts of the individual actors have better chances to have an impact.
A trend within the banking industry for the past decades has been the expansion of Internet banking. The customers are provided with different types of digital solutions for their banking needs, as the banks are rapidly closing down local bank branches. Since 1990, approximately half of all Swedish bank branches have been closed, primarily outside of metropolitan areas. The local bank branches are important for the local financial infrastructure in that they collect and analyze local information concerning the businesses in the region. Part of this information is soft and cannot readily be incorporated in a quantitative credit risk assessment. This trend is problematic for firms in the early stages of development as they lack a track record and most likely, tangible assets to use as collateral.
The results from the project of the changing financial infrastructure indicates that in regions which has experienced a dismantling of the physical financial infrastructure, fewer new firms are started, which in the long run might be problematic for the regions well-being and development.
The researchers in the group are Björn Berggren, Andreas Fili, Cynthia Ho Sin Tian and Mats Wilhelmsson.
Business development and financing of innovative ventures
To create growing and innovative ventures has been highlighted as one of the most important issues for the European economy. Therefore, a number of initiatives have been launched that targets the conditions for innovative ventures, especially in getting new products and services to the market. The majority of the initiatives focus on access to finance and competence suppliers for the new ventures.
Previous research has shown the important role that business angels have for the development of technology-based ventures in their early stages. Internationally, and in Sweden, an important trend has been the formation of business angel networks in which individual business angels invest together. Another important trend is the shift from early stage investments to investments in later stages within the venture capital industry. A relatively new form of financing is financing through digital platforms – crowdfunding – which could be of importance for some innovative new ventures. It can also be concluded that there are a large number of public actors that focus their attention and efforts towards innovative firms, both as regards financing and other types of support. Taken together, these trends raise a number of questions regarding the financial and competence infrastructure around innovative firms in the early stages of their development.
This research project analyses how different sources of financing, targeting innovative ventures have evolved over time. In this project we have followed individual business angels as well as a number of business angel networks since their inception. Questions regarding organization and investment preferences have been answered using both qualitative and quantitative methods.
The research group consists of Björn Berggren, Andreas Fili och Lars Silver.
Degree Project in Building and Real Estate Economics, Second Cycle (AI206X), examiner, teacher | Course web
Fundamentals of Property Development and Agency (AI1127), examiner, course responsible | Course web
Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship, Advanced Course (AI2151), examiner, course responsible | Course web
Internship module: Start-up Business Case (KF2320), examiner, course responsible, teacher | Course web
Introduction to the Planning and Building Process in Real Estate and Finance (AI1126), examiner, course responsible | Course web