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Dr. Aki Harima

Foto Aki Harima

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin


Enrique-Schmidt-Straße 1
28359 Bremen
WiWi 1, Raum A 2170

Telefon: +49 (0)421 218 - 66876



• Transnational Entrepreneurship

• Incubators & Accelerators

• Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

• Entrepreneurship in Emerging Countries

• Entrepreneurship Education

Research Gate

Google Scholar


Zur Person

Dr. Aki Harima is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Chair in Small Business & Entrepreneurship of the University of Bremen. Her research focuses lie on transnational entrepreneurship, accelerators & incubators, and entrepreneurship in emerging countries. Her research projects have been conducted in different countries such as the Philippines, Chile, Argentina, Namibia, South Africa, and Germany. Her currently on-going research projects are, for instance, success factors of incubators for refugee entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial potentials of refugees, roles of transnational entrepreneurs in entrepreneurial ecosystems, entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging and developing countries, and entrepreneurship education in transnational context. 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).

As for academic backgrounds, 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.”

Aki Harima is a member of international academic networks such as ECSB and ICSB and regularly participates in international academic conferences including RENT, ICSB and Babson Entrepreneurship Conference. As one of the initiators and main organizers of 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 or accepted in internationally well-acknowledged journals such as International Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, and Journal of Social Entrepreneurship. Aki Harima is a member of the editorial board of Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies and a guest editor of International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management. She also acts as a reviewer for international journals such as the Journal of World Business and European Management Review.

Based on academic knowledge and experience, Aki Harima has also actively been involved in knowledge transfer activities. Currently, she is involved in an Erasmus+ Project which aims at developing a virtual incubator for refugee entrepreneurs in Europe. In close collaboration with Namibia University of Science and Technology and the University of the Free State, she organizes a transnational student project where business students tackle practical challenges that entrepreneurs in Namibia face and develop solutions and prototypes. Aki Harima has consulted both regional and international practical projects supporting entrepreneurial activities of specific groups such as migrant, refugee, and township entrepreneurs. 


Seit 08/2016

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin (Postdoc)

Am Lehrstuhl für Mittelstand, Existenzgründung und Entrepreneurship (LEMEX)

Universität Bremen (Deutschland)

08/2013 – 07/2016

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin (Doktorandin)

Dr. rer. pol.

Am Lehrstuhl für Mittelstand, Existenzgründung und Entrepreneurship (LEMEX)

Universität Bremen (Deutschland)

Titel der Doktorarbeit: Exploring Characteristics of Descending Diaspora Entrepreneurship (Summa Cum Laude)

10/2010 – 06/2013

Mannheim Master in Management

Universität Mannheim (Deutschland)

08/2008 - 07/2009


WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management (Deutschland)

04/2005 – 09/2009

Bachelorstudium in Business Administration

Universität Kobe (Japan)








Proseminar Gründungs- und Mittelstands-Management 





Projekt Gründungs- und Mittelstandsmanagement VI - Current Issues in Entrepreneurship Research





Hauptseminar Gründungs- und Mittelstands-Management III 





Journal Artikel

  • Harima, A., Harima., J., & Freiling, J. (2020). The Injection of Resources by Transnational Entrepreneurs: Towards a Model of the Early Evolution of an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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)


  • “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)