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Creating sustainable entrepreneurship: New Canada Research Chair

May 15, 2017
Dr. Ash Prasad

An organizational management expert who critically examines why people think what they think and do what they do has been named the latest Canada Research Chair at Royal Roads University.

Ash Prasad, who researches in the university’s School of Business, is now the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Organizational Practice. The Ministry of Science, Innovation and Economic Development announced the CRC late last week.

During his time as chair, Prasad will study the motivations of entrepreneurs who have immigrated to more economically advantaged areas who then return to their countries of origin to pursue business ventures. He and his team will explore how these entrepreneurs define success and how they act as change agents in their countries of origin. The research will explore how to best build opportunities between countries and help create sustainable entrepreneurship of this type.

“Dr. Prasad’s research is a superb example of the type of enquiry needed in modern Canadian academia,” says Royal Roads’ President and Vice-Chancellor Allan Cahoon. “If we are to fully understand the world around us, we need researchers with diverse perspectives and experiences studying people and phenomena which are currently underrepresented. 

“As our new Canada Research Chair, Dr. Prasad will lead investigation that opens those pathways of understanding and knowledge-sharing for those engaged in international entrepreneurship, and will also bring these discoveries into the classroom,” Cahoon says.

Prasad has been granted a Tier 2 chair, awarded to exceptional emerging researchers recognized by their peers as potential leaders in their fields. The award has a five-year renewable term and is worth $100,000 a year, which funds research by the chair and a team of academics.

Prasad says the idea for this research project came to him while conducting fieldwork in the West Bank, where he met Palestinian entrepreneurs who were also citizens of more institutionally stable countries such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

 “Ultimately, I found the decision to return to their country of origin was motivated more by ideology than economics,” Prasad says. “I want to comprehensively unpack this phenomenon and I am thrilled that the Canada Research Chair award will provide me with the opportunity.”

Prasad will conduct fieldwork in Mexico, Fiji, Palestine and Libya over three years as part of this research, conducting interviews with entrepreneurs and collecting other information and data. He will work with a team of graduate students and a doctoral candidate, helping newer researchers acquire important experience.

Prior to joining Royal Roads, Prasad earned his PhD in Organization Studies from York University’s Schulich School of Business and was a graduate research fellow at Yale University. He most recently taught at the largest private university system in Mexico, the Tecnológico de Monterrey.

Royal Roads has three other Canada Research Chairs: Brian Belcher, CRC in Sustainability Research Effectiveness (Tier 1); Phillip Vannini, CRC in Innovative Learning and Public Ethnography (Tier 2); and George Veletsianos, CRC in Innovative Learning and Technology (Tier 2.)