Dr Saskia De Klerk | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Dr Saskia De Klerk

PhD Potchef., MCom Potchef., BCom(Hons) Potchef., BComm Potchef.

  • Senior Lecturer, International Business
  • Discipline Lead, Marketing, International Business and Tourism
  • School of Business and Creative Industries
07 5459 4493
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Saskia De Klerk

Dr Saskia de Klerk teaches entrepreneurship, managing across cultures, international business, and new venture planning at USC at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She believes in reflection, empowerment and authentic learning environments.

Saskia is the Research Degree Committee member elected for the Central region and she is also the Higher Degree Coordinator in the School of Business and Creative Industries. She worked as the Program Coordinator for the International Business Program until recently.

Previously Saskia worked at UNSW Canberra teaching International Business, Business Planning and Change Management at ADFA from 2011-2017. She also worked as Higher Degree Coordinator and actively engaged with the Canberra Innovation Incubator and Lighthouse Innovation Centre on research and development of entrepreneurship, innovation, networking and soft skills in the STEAMED (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, Entrepreneurship and Design) areas.

Her research interests in Incubators lead to her involvement in the Government sponsored project: The role and performance of accelerators in the Australian startup ecosystem. Her keen interest in creativity and innovation lead to her research with the Street Theatre in the ACT and international collaboration with TREES (Tourism Research in Economics, Environs and Society) at North-West University in South Africa. These projects focus on Entrepreneurship development, Innovation, Networking and the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.

She is a co-investigator on the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Project Team (SCRIPT) focusing on growing regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. She is also the lead-investigator on a Veteran entrepreneurship grant that focusses on the Entrepreneurial journey of military veterans transitioning into self-employment. She continues her research on innovation and entrepreneurial capacity building through smaller projects with diverse multidisciplinary teams ranging from Science, Engineering, Creative Industries and Education. Some of these projects include, Seniorpreneurs, Immigrant entrepreneurs, Regional ecosystem mapping in Australia (USC, UTS, University of Adelaide and CSU), Youth entrepreneurship, networks, and bricolage. She is also supervising a number of PhD students from Australia, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa and Salzburg.

You can also visit Saskia at:


  • Senior Fellow of the HEA. Awarded in 2021
  • Awarded an Honourary position as Adjunct Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales (Canberra). 2021- currently
  • Awardean a Honourary position as Associate Professor and Research Fellow, North West University. 2012 – currently
  • Certificate for outstanding service as journal paper reviewer. Conferred in 2019 by Kudos.
  • Best paper in 2017 Award at USC in the category Arts, Business, Humanities and Law. Awarded on the 22nd of November 2018 at the Research Celebration Awards.

Professional memberships

  • AOM


  • Accidental Counsellor certified from 2018 – 2020. Awarded by Lifeline Australia.

  • FULT 2015 Foundations of Learning and Teaching Certificate, UNSW, Australia.

  • QSR International NVIVO, Certificate, Further Analysis in NVivo, Australia Oct 2012.

  • Fundamentals of Statistics. Certificate awarded by the Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research. ACSPRI Winter Program 4-8 July 2011, University of Queensland, St. Lucia.

  • Polnet certificate. Ninth Summer School on the Analysis of Political and Managerial Networks, Tilburg University, Aug-Sep 2009.

Potential research projects for HDR and honours students

  • Regional development
  • Entrepreneurial ecosystems
  • Circular and sustainable practices
  • Networking and bricolage
  • Career transitioning
  • Culture

Research grants

Project name


Funding Body



‘Women’s Leadership and Business Collaboration’

Casey, S. (CI), de Klerk, S.(Lead), Cummins, G. and Hands, K.

Australian Department of Agriculture in partnership with Care Balonne Association Inc.


Women leadership; entrepreneurship, regional development

Exploring Regional Theatre Companies Response to COVID-19

Burgess, J. (CI); de Klerk, S. (LI) and Loth, J.

Internal funding


Regional development, networks, entrepreneurial ecosystems

Queensland Regional Innovation Benchmark (QRIB)

Scheepers, M (CI), de Klerk, S. (LI), Daniel, L., Tracey N. and Jenner, P.

Sunshine Coast Council


Regional development, networks, entrepreneurial ecosystems

GW3 Innovation Audit Benchmark.

Scheepers, M (CI), de Klerk, S. (LI) and Verreynne M.L.

Sunshine Coast Council


Regional development, networks, entrepreneurial ecosystems

The dynamics of regional innovation: Entrepreneurial diversity, Performance, and Collaboration

De Klerk, S. (CI); Scheepers, M., Jenner, P., Daniel, L. and Mealy, E.

Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Program 2018-2022.


Regional development, networks, entrepreneurial ecosystems

Developing a web-based tool to merge SWOT analysis results from an international bio hub and supply chain case studies.

Ghaffariyan, M. (CI), Brown, M., Acuna, M., Berry, M., de Klerk, S., Strandgard, M., Mitchell, R. and Srivastava, S.

AFORA/USC International Energy Agency Grant


Australian/Canadian/European consortium, Regional development, networks, entrepreneurial ecosystems


Profiling Food and Agribusiness on the Sunshine Coast Stage 6: 2019/20 Update (A211530)

Lawley, M and de Klerk, S.

Sunshine Coast Council and FAN



Food and Agribusiness, regional development, innovation

Profiling Food and Agribusiness on the Sunshine Coast Stage 7: 2020/21. Update.

Lawley, M and de Klerk, S.

Sunshine Coast Council


Food and Agribusiness, regional development, innovation

SAMAI – Towards a green recovery in the Indian Ocean Region

Lucrezi, S. (CI SA & Italy), de Klerk, S. (CI Australia); and Appavoo, P. (CI Mauritius).


Outcome to be announced soon

South Africa (SA), Mauritius (M), Australia (A), and Italy (I) presentations.

Regional development, networks, entrepreneurial ecosystems, sustainability and aquaculture


Research areas

  • Networking
  • Entrepreneurial ecosystems
  • Innovation
  • Entrepreneurial capacity building
  • Cross-cultural management

Teaching areas

  • Venture Growth and Innovation
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Managing Across Cultures
  • International Business

Program coordinator

Research publications

  • Daniel, L.J., de Villiers Scheepers, M.J., Miles, M.P. and de Klerk, S., 2022. Understanding entrepreneurial ecosystems using complex adaptive systems theory: getting the big picture for economic development, practice, and policy. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, pp.1-24.
  • Makandwa, G., de Klerk, S. and Saayman, A., 2022. Culturally-based community tourism ventures in Southern Africa and rural women entrepreneurs’ skills. Current Issues in Tourism, pp.1-14.
  • de Klerk, S., Ghaffariyan, M.R. and Miles, M., 2022. Leveraging the Entrepreneurial Method as a Tool for the Circular Economy: The Case of Wood Waste. Sustainability, 14(3), p.1559. Kahl, J., de Klerk, S. and Ogulin, R. 2022. "Agile strategies for middle managers", Management Decision, Vol. 60 No. 1, pp. 146-166. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-07-2020-0889
  • De Klerk, S. and Hodge, S., 2021. The case of the creative accelerator. Creative Industries Journal, 14(2), pp.169-189.
  • Yu, J., De Klerk, S. and Hess, M., 2021. The influence of cronyism on entrepreneurial resource acquisition. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, pp.1-30. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10490-021-09769-7
  • Maritz, A., Eager, B. and De Klerk, S., 2021. Entrepreneurship and self-employment for mature-aged people. Australian Journal of Career Development, 30(1), pp.3-14.
  • Maritz, A., Eager, B. and Klerk, S.D., 2021. Senior Entrepreneurs as Untapped Potential.
  • In The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Entrepreneurship(pp. 179-193). Palgrave Macmillan,
  • Makandwa, G., de Klerk, S. and Saayman, A., 2021. Understanding the Experiences of Rural Women in Sustaining Tourism Enterprises. In Gender and Tourism. Emerald Publishing Limited.
  • Bliemel, M., D'Alessandro, S., de Klerk, S., Flores, R., Harrison, G. and Miles, M.P., 2021. The value of mentors in incubation and acceleration: a managerial perspective. In Handbook of Research on Business and Technology Incubation and Acceleration. Edward Elgar
  • Maritz, A., Jones, C., Foley, D., De Klerk, S., Eager, B. and Nguyen, Q., 2021.
  • Entrepreneurship education in Australia. In Annals of Entrepreneurship Education and
  • Pedagogy–2021(pp. 208-226). Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Bliemel, M., Flores, R., De Klerk, S., & Miles, M. P. (2019). Accelerators as start-up infrastructure for entrepreneurial clusters. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 31(1-2), 133-149.
  • de Villiers Scheepers, M. J., & de Klerk, S. (2019). Sunshine Coast Region: Regional Innovation Benchmark Research Report 2019.
  • Hyndman-Rizk, N., & De Klerk, S. (2019). Culture as Opportunity: Skilled Migration and Entrepreneurship in Australia. In Sustainable Entrepreneurship (pp. 25-45). Springer, Cham.
  • Bliemel, M., De Klerk, S., Flores, R., & Miles, M. P. (2018). Emergence of accelerators and accelerator policy: the case of Australia. In Accelerators. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Miles, M.P., de Vries, H. Harrison, G., Bliemel, M., de Klerk, S., Kasouf, C.J. (2017). Accelerators as authentic training experiences for nascent entrepreneurs, Education + Training, 59(7/8): 811-824.
  • Klerk, S., and Verreynne, M. L. (2017). The networking practices of women managers in an emerging economy setting: negotiating institutional and social barriers. Human Resource Management Journal, 27(3): 477-501.
  • De Klerk S. (2015). The creative industries: an entrepreneurial bricolage perspective. Management Decision, 53(4): 828-842.

Media releases and Reports

  • Casey, S., Crimmins, G., Hands, K. and de Klerk, S., 2022. Real Rural Women's Leadership Podcast series.
  • de Klerk, S., Becker, K., de Villiers Scheepers, M.J. and McCormack, M., 2022. Mapping how military veterans transition to self-employment.
  • de Klerk, S., Daniel, L., Jenner, P., Tracey, N., Renando, C. and Verreynne, M., 2021. https://doi. org/10.25907/00088.
  • Scheepers, M.J., De Klerk, S., Daniel, L., Jenner, P. and Verreynne, M.L., 2020. Regional Innovation Benchmark Research Report: Sunshine Coast 2019-2020.
  • de Villiers Scheepers, M.J., de Klerk, S., Renando, C. and Verreynne, M.L., 2021. Greater Whitsunday Region: Regional innovation benchmark research report: 2020-2021.
  • de Villiers Scheepers, M.J., de Klerk, S., Daniel, L., Jenner, P., Tracey, N., Renando, C. and Verreynne, M.L., 2021. Queensland Regional Innovation Benchmark: Research Report 2021

Dr Saskia de Klerk's specialist areas of knowledge include entrepreneurship and business management, innovation, networking and social capital.

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In the news

Military veteran research participants David Neal and Jonathan Clark in 2017
Veterans offer 'untapped resource' for economy, research shows
21 Apr 2022

New business research led by the University of the Sunshine Coast has investigated how military veterans transition to self-employment, recommending it as a career option for other veterans.

Noosa Arts Theatre presents Mammamia. Picture supplied
Regional theatres keep curtains open despite COVID
25 Nov 2021

From driveway performances and reduced-capacity shows to hibernation – even turning off the back office fridge to save money, theatre groups of the Noosa, Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay regions managed to survive COVID-19 lockdowns without folding for good.