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Chris Courtney

Collegiate Associate Professor
2118 Pamplin (0233)
880 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061


As a native Buffalonian, Christopher Courtney received Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship from the University at Buffalo, where he taught entrepreneurship and strategy courses and received the Dean's Award for Ph.D. Student Research Excellence for having demonstrated exceptional research and the highest potential as a scholar, based on journal publications, research awards, presentations, and papers at top conferences. Chris was awarded the prestigious and highly selective Western New York Prosperity Fellowship and Arun Jain Fellowship, obtaining funding of over $160,000. He previously served as an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management at the University of Richmond, receiving a Teaching Innovation Award and the Robins School of Business Outstanding Paper award as the second-highest cited assistant professor. He has twenty years of work experience, including about a decade of entrepreneurial experience, which has been valuable inside the classroom. Students often mention his passion for the subject material and enthusiastic teaching, as evidenced in student evaluations where his rating on enthusiasm was 5.0/5.0 in a recent course. Before returning to school, he gained experience as an entrepreneur, providing reverse logistics, e-commerce, and remanufacturing solutions to larger retailers. He previously served as an adjunct instructor in the computer science department at Niagara County Community College and on the board of directors for the Greater South Buffalo Chamber of Commerce. He and his family served as the Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes, on the Family Advisory Council at Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo, and as volunteers (including commercial appearances) for Wings Flights of Hope, a local non-profit organization that provides free air transportation for medical and humanitarian purposes. Chris has worked at the Erie County Industrial Development Agency in the International Program, helping small businesses expand internationally. He completed a two-year professional development program and is now LeaderCORE certified at the Role Model level.

Chris's research and teaching interests lie at the interface of entrepreneurship, innovation, and strategic management. Chris's recent research focuses on crowdfunding's potential to help entrepreneurs fund early-stage ventures where traditional financing is unavailable. The first stream of his research examines how resource-constrained ventures deal with information asymmetry to attract stakeholders such as investors or customers and how early feedback from stakeholders impacts venture innovativeness and performance. His second stream of interest includes the potential of innovation and entrepreneurship to affect social change. For example, he is currently investigating how aspects of one's entrepreneurial identity influence the decision to pursue a social venture and how the prevailing norms, expectations, and stereotypes (i.e., social roles) concerning how social entrepreneurs should behave influence external stakeholder support. His third stream of research examines how organizations utilize co-creation, inclusive innovation, open innovation, and community-driven crowdsourcing to permeate firm boundaries allowing firms to combine internal and external knowledge and resources in their innovation process. His work is published in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, one of the leading entrepreneurship journals. He also worked with the Kauffman Foundation to develop an industry report on entrepreneurial financing titled "Changing Capital: Emerging Trends in Entrepreneurial Finance" and co-authored a handbook on exporting to Canada. His research has gained media attention and has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Newsday, and Crowdfund Insider. His research has been presented at several academic conferences such as the Strategic Management Society Annual Conference, Darden Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research Conference, Global Research Symposium on Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and the Academy of Management annual meeting (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022).


University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY

  • Ph.D., Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship, 2018
  • MBA, 2013
  • B.S. Business Administration (Management Information Systems), 2004


  • LeaderCORE™ Certified at the highest Role Model Level (UB School of Management)
  • Advanced Graduate Certificate, Applied Statistical Analysis (UB Graduate School of Education)
  • MySQL certification


His research lies at the interface of entrepreneurship, innovation, and strategic management.

  • Entrepreneurial Finance/Resource Acquisition (Crowdfunding, VC, Angel)
  • Social Ventures and Entrepreneurial Identity (Identity theory, Role congruity theory)
  • Innovation across Firm Boundaries (Co-creation, Inclusive Innovation, Open Innovation, and Crowdsourcing)
  • Contracting with Asymmetric Information (Signaling Theory)


  • Best Paper Award (Academy of Management, 2022)
  • Outstanding Paper Award (University of Richmond, 2021)
  • Teaching Innovation Award (University of Richmond, 2020 – 2021)
  • Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Grant (University of Richmond, 2020)
  • Research Grant (University of Richmond, 2019, 2020, 2021)
  • Dean's Award for Ph.D. Student Research Excellence (University at Buffalo, 2017)
  • Western New York Prosperity Fellow (University at Buffalo 2012 – 2018)
  • Arun Jain Fellowship (University at Buffalo 2011 – 2013)
  • 3rd Place: 2012 New York State Business Plan Competition (with over 105 teams competing)
  • Developed a matching system and filed for a patent (2012)
  • Top 10 Business to Business Sellers – eBay Live Award (2004)


  • Academy of Management
  • Strategic Management Society
  • Southern Management Association
  • Beta Gamma Sigma


  • Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management, University of Richmond, Robins School of Business (2018 – 2022)
  • WNY Prosperity Fellow / Doctoral Student / Instructor, Operations Management & Strategy, University at Buffalo (2014 – 2018)
  • Adjunct Instructor, Computer Information Systems Department, Niagara County Community College (2012 – 2014)


  • Independent Consultant, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (2016)
  • International Programs, Erie County Industrial Development Agency (2012 – 2013)
  • Founder and CEO, We Sell Returns (2003 – 2012)
  • E-commerce Manager, Fortuna Enterprises Inc. (2002 – 2003)
  • College Program Intern, Walt Disney World Company (2002)
  • Sales Associate, Computers and Electronics, Sears (2001 – 2002)
  • Sales Associate & Assistant Manager, Blockbuster (2000 – 2001)