Whitman Voices


Alejandro Amezcua, Navigating Uncharted Entrepreneurial Territories

Alejandro Amezcua, Navigating Uncharted Entrepreneurial Territories

Alejandro Amezcua, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, is making headway in uncharted territories through his entrepreneurship research.

Amezcua explores the impact public administration has on entrepreneurship ecosystems, the social and economic environments that affect entrepreneurship on both a local and regional level. Amezcua’s current project is looking into how to effectively measure and evaluate an ecosystem to see the impact it has on the local geographical region.

“A lot of people in economic development and entrepreneurial networks talk about the value and relevance of ecosystems,” explained Amezcua. “Yet, we don’t have a good understanding of how to measure and evaluate entrepreneurial ecosystems to make sure it is making a difference.”

As part of this project, Amezcua is collaborating with Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and the iSchool and the University of Baltimore to review online archives and identify ecosystems. Amezcua and his colleagues will analyze and compare the data to pinpoint the impact of ecosystems and the range of impact. Through his research, Amezcua hopes to improve ecosystems for entrepreneurs and help others to have a positive social impact.

Amezcua earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology and comparative studies in race and ethnicity from Stanford University. Afterward, he went on to get an M.P.A in public administration and a Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. It was during his studies that he became interested in researching entrepreneurship.

“Early on I discovered that in public administration there was not a lot of thought being put into entrepreneurship and policies related to entrepreneurship,” said Amezcua. “The government is responsible for economic policy and politicians talk about entrepreneurship all the time, yet all the research done in that area is limited.”

Since joining the Whitman School in 2010, Amezcua has also been conducting research at the Whitman School, as well as teaching students.  Amezcua first worked at the Whitman School as a postdoc, before joining full-time. As a professor, he encourages students to make decisions with purpose.

“I try and push students to come up with, especially in Capstone, ideas that have social meaning behind them, that deal with one of the many issues that plague our society,” said Amezcua.

Amezcua also strives to make class enjoyable and concepts easy to understand. Last semester during an entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises class, he used paper airplanes to teach students about intellectual property. While 40 airplanes were flying across the room, specific materials represented patents, trademarks and trade secrets.

Outside of the classroom, Amezcua trains for marathons, does yoga and likes to attend live music shows.

Arielle Spears