Pursuing independent research builds critical thinking skills, problem identification and solving skills, academic writing ability, and a solid grounding in innovative thinking. If you’re able to identify a relevant problem and pursue research into an original, feasible solution, then you can add tremendous value to both your profile and the world of research overall, while at the same time demonstrating your intellectual curiosity and methodical approach.
If you’re interested in pursuing research specifically in the world of entrepreneurship, taking a different tack from the myriad of pre-college programs and summer courses available, then we’ve compiled a list of 25+ research topics for you in this blog post.
Topic 1: Technological Innovations in Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurs stand at the forefront of technological advancements reshaping the business landscape. If you’re keen on the cutting edge of innovation, dive deep into the realms of AI, Virtual Reality, and Blockchain technology. By exploring these avenues, you can uncover groundbreaking business applications, from enhancing customer experiences to securing financial transactions. Some great topics to consider include:
1. AI and Machine Learning Applications in Business: Explore how businesses are utilizing AI and machine learning to enhance operations, customer experiences, and innovation.
2. Virtual Reality (VR) in Marketing: Investigate the potential of VR in creating immersive marketing experiences and their impact on consumer behavior.
3. Blockchain Technology in Financial Transactions: Research the role of blockchain technology in securing financial transactions and its implications for the banking sector.
Topic 2: Sustainable Entrepreneurship
As the world takes climate change and dwindling resources more seriously, you have the opportunity to foster business models that prioritize environmental sustainability, much like the economic research topics focusing on the climate crisis and environmental policies. Delve into green business initiatives, waste management solutions, and renewable energy ventures, fostering a harmonious relationship between entrepreneurship and the environment. Your research could potentially spearhead a generation of entrepreneurs who are environmentally conscious and responsible. Some topics you could consider include:
4. Green Business Models: Analyze the effectiveness of green business models in promoting environmental sustainability.
5. Waste Management Startups: Study the emergence of startups focusing on innovative waste management solutions.
6. Renewable Energy Ventures: Explore the potential of renewable energy ventures in mitigating climate change and their economic viability.
Ideas contributed by a Lumiere Mentor from the University of Michigan.
Topic 3: Social Entrepreneurship
If social justice is a subject important to you, then you can consider researching business models that address pressing social issues and foster community development. Drawing inspiration from inclusive and community-centric approaches seen in economics research topics, you can explore social impact startups, inclusive business models, and community-based entrepreneurship. Here are some ideas to get you started:
7. Social Impact Startups: Investigate the role of startups in addressing social issues and their impact on communities.
8. Inclusive Business Models: Research the effectiveness of inclusive business models in promoting social equality and economic development.
9. Community-Based Entrepreneurship: Study the role of community-based entrepreneurship in fostering local development and social cohesion.
Ideas contributed by Lumiere Mentors from UPenn, University of Washington, and Princeton University.
Topic 4: Entrepreneurial Leadership and Management
Adept leadership is often the crucial difference between soaring success and abject failure in the cutthroat world of entrepreneurship. You can explore diverse leadership styles, agile management practices, and crisis management strategies of different leaders across firms and sectors. Some possible topics include:
10. Leadership Styles in Startups: Analyze different leadership styles and their effectiveness in the startup environment.
11. Agile Management in Entrepreneurship: Investigate the adoption of agile management practices in entrepreneurship and its impact on business agility.
12. Crisis Management in Small Businesses: Study the strategies adopted by small businesses to manage crises and ensure business continuity.
Ideas contributed by Lumiere Mentors from Cornell and the University of Michigan.
Topic 5: Entrepreneurial Finance
If you want to explore the financial backbones of the startup world, you can investigate crowdfunding platforms, venture capital investments, and overall financial literacy. Your research can help foster a generation of entrepreneurs who are financially savvy and adept at securing funding for their ventures. Here are some ideas to get you started:
13. Crowdfunding in Startups: Explore the role of crowdfunding platforms in supporting startups and the factors influencing crowdfunding success.
14. Venture Capital and Startup Growth: Investigate the relationship between venture capital investment and startup growth.
15. Financial Literacy among Entrepreneurs: Study the level of financial literacy among entrepreneurs and its impact on business success.
Topic 6: Innovation and Creativity in Entrepreneurship
Resonating with the exploratory nature of physics and computer science research, you can explore innovation ecosystems, design thinking approaches, and creative problem-solving techniques. While innovation and creativity are important for all businesses, they are particularly critical for entrepreneurial efforts. You can start with topics like these:
16. Innovation Ecosystems in Business: Analyze the role of innovation ecosystems in fostering creativity and innovation in businesses.
17. Design Thinking in Entrepreneurship: Investigate the adoption of design thinking approaches in entrepreneurship and its impact on product development.
18. Creative Problem-Solving in Business: Study the role of creative problem-solving techniques in addressing business challenges and fostering innovation.
Topic 7: Global Entrepreneurship
As you step into the expansive world of global entrepreneurship, you are invited to explore the opportunities and challenges associated with international business ventures. You can investigate cross-border entrepreneurship, global supply chain management, and cultural intelligence. Your research can help identify and solve the challenges affecting international business operations and the cultural mores required to keep global businesses running. Here are some ideas for you to explore:
19. Diplomacy and Entrepreneurship: Research the impact of geopolitics and diplomatic relations on international businesses and how businesses can mitigate the impact of trade wars on their operations.
20. Global Supply Chain Management: Investigate the strategies adopted by businesses to manage global supply chains effectively.
21. Cultural Intelligence in International Business: Study the role of cultural intelligence in facilitating successful international business operations.
Topic 8: Entrepreneurial Education
Entrepreneurship is by and large a skill that can be taught, and you have the opportunity to delve into the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education programs, experiential learning approaches, and entrepreneurial skill development. Here are some initial ideas:
22. Entrepreneurship Education in High Schools: Analyze the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education programs in high schools in fostering an entrepreneurial mindset.
23. Experiential Learning in Entrepreneurship: Investigate the role of experiential learning approaches in entrepreneurship education.
24. Entrepreneurial Skill Development: Study the strategies adopted by educational institutions to foster entrepreneurial skill development among students.
Topic 9: Women in Entrepreneurship
Echoing the gender studies perspective seen in economics research, you can delve into success factors for women entrepreneurs, challenges faced by women in business, and initiatives promoting women's participation in the tech sector. Some topics you can start exploring are:
25. Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs: Investigate the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and the strategies adopted to overcome them.
26. Women Entrepreneurs in Developing Nations: Research how women build and lead businesses in developing nations and their unique perspectives and contributions to their respective fields.
27. Contributions by Women in Entrepreneurial Leadership: Study the role of women specifically in leadership roles in startups and the resultant impact on firm performance and growth.
Topic 10: Youth Entrepreneurship
To research something that might be close to your own journey, you can explore the role of youth entrepreneurship in economic development, support systems for young entrepreneurs, and the relationship between youth entrepreneurship and innovation. A few topics to help get you started:
28. Youth Entrepreneurship and Economic Development: Analyze the role of youth entrepreneurship in promoting economic development.
29. Support Systems for Young Entrepreneurs: Investigate the support systems available for young entrepreneurs and their effectiveness in fostering youth entrepreneurship.
30. Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Study the relationship between youth entrepreneurship and innovation, and the factors influencing young entrepreneurs' propensity to innovate.
One more option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program
If you’re looking for the opportunity to do in-depth research on the above topics and more, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.
Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.
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