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
+61 7 5459 4493
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Saskia Green

Dr. Saskia de Klerk (SFHEA) is the Discipline Lead for the Marketing, International Business, and Tourism disciplines. She teaches entrepreneurship, managing across cultures, international business, and innovation at USC at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She believes in reflection, empowerment, and creating authentic learning environments.

She also holds an adjunct position as Associate Professor at North-West University, South Africa, and as an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales (Canberra). She is serving as a topic editor and reviewer of several internationally reputed journals. She is a Board member of Management Decision. She has successfully supervised 14 Ph.D. students from across the globe.

Her research interests include mapping, developing, and advancing entrepreneurial and networking skills, and regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. She is interested in supporting the development of an entrepreneurial mindset and articulating pathways to transition into entrepreneurship and sustainable practices in regional ecosystems through circular economy, and bricolage strategies.

Previous research projects include:

  • Exploring the use of Australian edible seaweed ingredients in food and beverage product development through a placed-based lens. In collaboration with the UniSC Seaweed Research Group. Funded by FAN.
  • International collaboration with TREES (Tourism Research in Economics, Environs, and Society) at North-West University in South Africa; the IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) and locally with the ACPIR (Australian Centre for Pacific Island Research). These projects focus on Sustainable practices, blue economy, circular economy, waste management, regional development, innovation, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Profiling and development of local food and agribusiness. Funded by the Sunshine Coast Council and supported by FAN (Food and Agribusiness Network).
  • Mapping the role and performance of accelerators in the Australian startup ecosystem. Multi-university project with UTS, UNSW, and Charles Sturt University. Funded by the Australian Government, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS).
  • Regional entrepreneurial ecosystem mapping in Australia (USC, UTS, University of Adelaide and CSU), focusing on innovation, sustainable practices, and bricolage strategies.
  • Benchmarking and mapping regional innovation on the Sunshine Coast with the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Project Team (SCRIPT,) focusing on growing regional entrepreneurial ecosystems.
  • Women in Business leadership development projects, with the Real Rural Women Leadership project (Care Balonne industry partnered and Regional Development funded) and Women entrepreneurship networking research, funded by the National Research Fund (SA) and Women in Finance organisation.
  • Investigating the entrepreneurial ecosystem of creatives with the Street Theatre (ACT) and the Fringe and Community theatres on the Sunshine Coast (QLD).
  • Providing a better understanding of senior entrepreneurial activity and motivations with La Trobe university and UTAS.
  • Investigating the uptake and utilisation of seaweed as an ingredient in product innovations by Food and beverage manufacturers on the Sunshine Coast with the UniSC Seaweed Research Group.
  • Exploring the development of a SWOT toolkit to manage biomass and waste through the circular economy and entrepreneurial strategies with the Forestry Research Institute at UniSC.
  • Understanding the Entrepreneurial journey of military veterans transitioning into self-employment. This project included colleagues at UNSW(Canberra).
  • Investigating the critical skills that need to be developed for Immigrant entrepreneurship in ACT and NSW. We focused on the development of skills in innovation, business planning, and stakeholder management. In collaboration with Lighthouse Innovations.

Saskia is currently holds the roles of Generation Innovation Mentor 2019-2023 and Study Sunshine Coast Telstra Mayor Innovation Program Mentor 2022.

More research and information can be accessed at:


  • Senior Fellow of the HEA. Awarded in 2021
  • Awarded an Honorary position as Adjunct Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales (Canberra). 2021- currently
  • Awarded an Honorary 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
  • Board member: Management Decision

  • Special Topic Editor: Sustainability


  • 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        Investigators Funding body    Year(s) Focus

Profiling Food and Agribusiness on the Sunshine Coast Stage 7: 2022/23 Update

Lawley, M, de Klerk, S. and McIntyre, K.

Sunshine Coast Council and FAN



Food and Agribusiness, regional development, innovation, circular economy and waste management, supply chain

Profiling Food and Agribusiness on the Sunshine Coast Stage 7: 2021/22 Update

Lawley, M, de Klerk, S. and Fox, D.

Sunshine Coast Council and FAN



Food and Agribusiness, regional development, innovation, circular economy and waste management

‘Women’s Leadership and Business Collaboration’

Casey, S., de Klerk, S., 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., de Klerk, S. and Loth, J.

Internal funding


Regional development, networks, entrepreneurial ecosystems

Queensland Regional Innovation Benchmark (QRIB)

Scheepers, M, de Klerk, S., Daniel, L., Tracey N. and Jenner, P.

Sunshine Coast Council


Regional development, networks, entrepreneurial ecosystems

GW3 Innovation Audit Benchmark.

Scheepers, M, de Klerk, S. 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., 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., 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., de Klerk, S. and Appavoo, P.


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
  • Women entrepreneurs
  • Sustainable practices
  • Regional development

Saskia has supervised PhD students from Australia, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Bhutan, China, Bougainville, Iran, Pakistan, South Africa, Austria, Germany and Salzburg.

  • Digital nomadism on social capital development in South East Asia
  • Moderating effects of gender-roles attitudes on leadership: comparison of Austria and Sweden in the medical device industry
  • Factors for evaluating and managing the agility of empowered organisational units on the middle management level
  • Corporate Entrepreneurship in High-Tech Firms: The Effect of Inter-Organisational Knowledge Acquisition on Innovation Performance
  • The cultural and behavioural antecedents of Sino-foreign joint-venture airline divestments
  • The influence of socioemotional wealth on organisational learning in family firms
  • Developing a youth entrepreneur's strategy for tourism development in Zimbabwe
  • Exploring the career progression of women entrepreneurs

Teaching areas

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

Research publications

  • Cetindamar Kozanoglu, D., Renando, C., Bliemel, M. and De Klerk, S., 2023. The evolution of the Australian start-up and innovation ecosystem: Mapping policy developments, key actors, activities, and artefacts. Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal devoted to the developing world.
  • Casey, S., Crimmins, G., Hands, K. and de Klerk, S., 2022. Real Rural Women's Leadership Podcast series.
  • 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.
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.25907/00088 

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

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