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Dr. Aki Harima

Foto Aki Harima

Postdoctoral Researcher


Enrique-Schmidt-Straße 1
D-28359 Bremen
WiWi 1, Room A 2170

Phone: +49 (0)421 218 - 66876


Research Interest:

• Transnational Entrepreneurship

• Business Incubators & Accelerators

• Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

• Entrepreneurship in Emerging Countries

• Entrepreneurship Education

Research Gate

Google Scholar



Dr. Aki Harima is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Chair in Small Business & Entrepreneurship of the University of Bremen. Dr. Aki Harima acquired her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Kobe University (Japan) and her master’s degree in Management at the University of Mannheim (Germany). She also studied at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management (Germany) for one year as an exchange student. Aki Harima joined the team LEMEX in 2013 and completed her Ph.D. study in Entrepreneurship in 2016. Her Ph.D. thesis, “Exploring Characteristics of Descending Diaspora Entrepreneurship” (supervised by Prof. Dr. Jörg Freiling), was awarded “summa cum laude.”

Her research focuses lie on transnational entrepreneurship, accelerators & business incubators, and entrepreneurship in emerging countries. Her research projects have been conducted in different countries such as the Philippines, Chile, Argentina, Namibia, South Africa, Tajikistan, and Germany. Her currently ongoing research topics are, for instance:

  • The entrepreneurial potential of refugee entrepreneurs in Europe
  • Business incubators for refugee entrepreneurs in Europe
  • Transnational migrant entrepreneurs in times of Covid-19 pandemic 
  • Entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging countries (e.g., Chile and Namibia)
  • Refugee-camp entrepreneurial ecosystems in Africa
  • The embeddedness of student entrepreneurship in Germany

At the University of Bremen, she teaches mainly master students in business administration in Organizational Theory, research methodologies such as qualitative research methods, grounded theory, and systematic literature review. Furthermore, Aki Harima has teaching experiences at international institutes such as Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo (Mexico), University of the Free State (South Africa), Namibia University of Science and Technology (Namibia),  and École de management de Normandie (UK/France).

Dr. Aki Harima is a member of international academic networks such as ECSB and ICSB and regularly participates in international academic conferences, including the Academy of Management Annual Meetings, RENT, and the Babson Entrepreneurship Conference. As one of the initiators and main organizers of the International Conference on Migration and diaspora Entrepreneurship (MDE), Aki Harima engages in building a global network of researchers and practitioners who work for transnational entrepreneurship. Her research has been published oin internationally well-acknowledged journals such as Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, International Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Journal of Social Entrepreneurship. Dr. Aki Harima is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies. She also acts as an ad-hoc reviewer for international journals such as the Journal of World Business and European Management Review.

Based on academic knowledge and experience, Aki Harima has actively been involved in knowledge transfer activities. From 2017 to 2020, Dr. Aki Harima was involved in an Erasmus+ Project to develop a virtual business incubator for refugee entrepreneurs in Europe. In 2018, in close collaboration with Namibia University of Science and Technology and the University of the Free State, she organized a transnational student project where business students tackled practical challenges that entrepreneurs in Namibia face and develop solutions and prototypes, for which she won the Berninghausen Prize 2019. Dr. Aki Harima has consulted both regional and international practical projects supporting entrepreneurial activities of specific groups such as migrant, refugee, and township entrepreneurs. 


Since 08/2016

Postdoctoral Researcher

At Chair in Small Business & Entrepreneurship (LEMEX)

University of Bremen (Germany)

08/2013 – 07/2016

Research Assistant & Ph.D. Candidate

Ph.D. in Economics and Social Sciences

At Chair in Small Business & Entrepreneurship (LEMEX)

University of Bremen (Germany)

Title of the dissertation: Exploring Characteristics of Descending Diaspora Entrepreneurship (Summa cum laude)

10/2010 – 06/2013

Mannheim Master in Management

University of Mannheim (Germany)

08/2008 - 07/2009

Exchange Year

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management (Germany)

04/2005 – 09/2009

Bachelor's programme in Business Administration

Kobe University (Japan)








Pre-Seminar Entrepreneurship and SME-Management





Teaching Project on current Issues in Entrepreneurship Research





Seminar on Entrepreneurship and SME Management III





Journal Artikel

  • Harima, A. (2022). Transnational migration entrepreneurship during a crisis: Immediate response to challenges and opportunities emerging through the COVID-19 pandemic. Business and Society Review. Download [Open Access]
  • Harima, A. (2022). Theorizing Disembedding and Re-Embedding: Resource Mobilization in Refugee Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development. Download [Author Accepted Version]
  • Harima, A., Kroczak, A., & Repnik, M. (2021). Role Ambiguity in Entrepreneurship Education: Expectation Gaps between Educators and Students in Venture Creation Courses. Education + Training
  • Harima, A., Gießelmann, J., Göttsch, Vi., & Schlichting, L. (2021). Entrepreneurship? Let Us Do It Later: Procrastination in the Intention-Behavior Gap of Student Entrepreneurship. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 27(5), 1189-1213.
  • Harima, A., Harima., J., & Freiling, J. (2021). The Injection of Resources by Transnational Entrepreneurs: Towards a Model of the Early Evolution of an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 33(1-2), 80-107.
  • Harima, A., Periac, F., Murphy, T., & Picard, S. (2020). Entrepreneurial Opportunities of Refugees in Germany, France, and Ireland: Multiple Embeddedness Framework. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal
  • Harima, A., & Baron, T. (2020). Is This Transnational Entrepreneurship? Five Cases in Which It Is Hard to Say 'Yes' or 'No'. Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies, 6(1), 12-40.
  • Dang, C-M., & Harima, A. (2020). Dual Embeddedness and Entrepreneurial Activities of Second-Generation Ethnic Entrepreneurs: Multiple Case Studies with Vietnamese Entrepreneurs in Germany. Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies, 6(19), 84-113.
  • Freiling, J., & Harima, A. (2019). Tackling the Heterogeneity – Migration and Diaspora Entrepreneurship. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, 23(6), 539-558.
  • Phuong, Q.D., & Harima, A. (2019). The Impact of Cultural Values on Vietnamese Ethnic Entrepreneurs in Germany. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management, and Innovation, 15(2), 85-115.
  • Harima, A., Freudenberg, J., Halberstadt, J. (2019). Functional Domains of Business Incubators for Refugee Entrepreneurs. Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, 14(5), 687-711.
  • Harima, A., & Freudenberg, J. (2019). Co-Creation of Social Entrepreneurial Opportunities with Refugees. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship.
  • Baron, T., & Harima, A. (2019). The Role of Diaspora Entrepreneurs in Start-up Ecosystem Development – A Berlin Case Study. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 36(1/2), 74-102.
  • Harima, A., Elo, M., & Freiling, J. (2016). Rich-to-poor Diaspora Ventures: How Do They Survive? International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 28(4), 391-413.
  • Harima, A. (2015). Motivation of Japanese Descending Diaspora Entrepreneurs. Studia i Materialy, (19), 22-36.
  • Harima, A. (2015). The Role of Local Partners for Descending Diaspora Entrepreneurship: Overcoming Liability of Foreignness. American Journal of Entrepreneurship, 8(2), 60-88.
  • Mayer, S., Harima, A., & Freiling, J. (2015). Network Benefits for Ghanaian Diaspora and Returnee Entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 3(3), 95-121.
  • Harima, A., & Vemuri, S. (2015). Diaspora Business Model Innovation, Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management, and Innovation, 11(1), 29-52.
  • Harima, A. (2014). Network Dynamics of Descending Diaspora Entrepreneurship: Multiple Case Studies with Japanese Entrepreneurs in Emerging Economies, Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation, 10(4), 65-92.


  • Jürgens, C., Ramalingam, A., Zarembski, R., Harima, A. and Yeshi, T. (2022), "Relational Dynamics within Refugee Business Incubators: Bridging Refugee Entrepreneurs to the Host-Country Entrepreneurial Ecosystem", Pickernell, D.G., Battisti, M., Dann, Z. and Ekinsmyth, C. (Ed.) Disadvantaged Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, Vol. 14), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 147-169.
  • Phuong, Q.D., Mayer, S., Theohavora, V., Harima, A., & Freiling, J. (2019). Provoking Gender-related Institutional Changes: A Case of a Returnee Female Entrepreneur in India. In M. I. Yenilmez & O. B. Celik (Eds.) A comparative perspective of women's economic empowerment. Routledge: New York, NY. 
  • Heilbrunn, S., Freiling, J., & Harima, A. (2019). Refugee Entrepreneurship. A Case-based Topography, Palgrave.
  • Harima, A., Haimour, M., & Freiling, J. (2019). Umayyad: A Syrian Refugee Business in Bremen, Germany, in Heilbrunn, S; Freiling, J; Harima, A, (Ed.) Refugee Entrepreneurship: A Case-based Topography. 
  • Harima, A. (2019). Case Studies: Japanese Entrepreneurs in Emerging Countries, in Diaspora Networks in International Business edited by Maria Elo & Indianna Minto-Coy, Springer.
  • Harima, A. (2016) Classification of Diaspora Entrepreneurship. A Book Chapter of "Diaspora Business". Edited by Maria Elo & Liesl Riddle. Inter-Disciplinary Press. Oxford.
  • Elo, M., Harima, A., & Freiling, J. (2015). To Try or Not to Try? A Story of Diaspora Entrepreneurship, in Rob Van Tulder, Alain Verbeke , Rian Drogendijk (ed.) The Future of Global Organizing (Progress in International Business Research, Volume 10) Emerald Group Publishing Limited: 283 - 293.



  • Erasmus+ VIFRE (Virtual Incubator for Refugee Entrepreneurs)
  • Develop Solutions for a City Incubator in Namibia (funded by the Internationalization Funds of the University of Bremen)


  • ECSB (European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship)
  • Academy of Management
  • BCERC (Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference)


  • Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies (SAGE)


  • Berninghausen-Award for the “Innovative Teaching Methodology” in 2018
  • Best Paper Award, ACSB 2018, 10-14 September 2018, Tokyo (Japan)
  • Wiwib Best Research Papers on SME Management 2017 (Bremen, Germany)
  • Best Paper Award (EU), 62th ICSB World Conference, 28 June – 01 July 2017, Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  • Segnitz Prize 2016, the best Ph.D. thesis in the Faculty in Business Studies & Economics of the University Bremen
  • Best Paper Award (Entrepreneurial), 13th International Conference of the Society for Global Business & Economic Development (SGBED 2014), 16 - 18 July 2014, Ancona (Italy)


  • "Authors - E4 - Aki Harima - The Injection of Resources by Transnational Entrepreneurs: Towards a Model of the Early Evolution of an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem" Season 2, Episode 4, 2021 - An author interview for the ERD PODCAST (Entrepreneurship & Regional Development).
  • “Aki Harima untersucht Gründerlandschaften in Entwicklungsländern“ – Kreiszeitung (09.11.2018) 
  • "Flüchtlinge als Gründer“ – Weser Kurier (02.09.2018) 
  • "Einzigartige Ressourcen Nutzen" - Clavis 01/2018
  • "Studierende der Wirtschaftswissenschaft unterstützen Existenzgründerinnen und - gründer in Namibia" - Focus Local (14.02.2018)
  • "Ideen für Namibias Kleinunternehmer" - Weser Kurier (03.03.2018)
  • "Entwicklungsarbeit - Studenten unterstüzen Existenzgründer in Namibia" - Nordwest Zeitung (09.05.2018)
Reviews for Peer-Reviewed Journals 
  • Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice  
  • Entrepreneurship & Regional Development  
  • Journal of World Business 
  • International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal
  • Journal of International Management 
  • International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing
  • Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy
  • Journal of Refugee Studies 
  • Sustainability 
  • Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 
  • International Migration 
  • Globalizations 
  • Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies
  • Journal of Humanities and Applied Social Science
  • Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review