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Charlene Nicholls-Nixon

Dr. Charlene L. Nicholls-Nixon

Director, Entrepreneurship Research Institute | Associate Professor
DepartmentEntrepreneurship & Strategy
EducationBComm, MBA, PhD
OfficeTRS 3-133
Phone416-979-5000, ext. 3604


Dr. Charlene Nicholls-Nixon is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy and Director of the Entrepreneurship Research Institute. Prior to joining TRSM, she held faculty appointments at IPADE Business School (Mexico), Western University’s Richard Ivey School of Business and the University of Colorado in Boulder. Charlene holds a PhD from Purdue University and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Nicholls-Nixon began her post-MBA career helping to launch a university-based biotech start-up. Subsequently, through her academic research and case writing, she has interacted with senior executives, CEOs, entrepreneurs, scientists and managers at different organization levels to explore issues related to entrepreneurship, innovation and the commercialization of new technology. Her most recent work explores business incubation as a multi-level phenomenon and focuses on addressing the following research questions:

  • How does business incubation create value for entrepreneurs?
  • How do incubators interact with their ecosystem to support entrepreneurs?
  • Why do entrepreneurs differ in their ability to benefit from incubation
  • Why are some business incubators more effective than others?

Dr. Nicholls-Nixon’s research has been published in several of the top journals in management and entrepreneurship. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship and a member of the editorial board of Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice.

Dr. Nicholls-Nixon has taught at all academic levels, including participation in a wide range of international executive education programs.

Entrepreneurial behavior; innovation and opportunity creation; early stage entrepreneurship; entrepreneurial support organizations; entrepreneurial ecosystems; institutional barriers and enablers of entrepreneurship.

Research / Professional Contributions
Nicholls-Nixon, C., Singh, R., Hassannezhad Chavoushi, Z., and Valliere, D. (2022). "How University Business Incubation Supports Entrepreneurs in Technology-Based and Creative Industries: A Comparative Study,” forthcoming in Journal of Small Business Management, DOI:10.1080/00472778.2022.2073360 
Nicholls-Nixon, C. and Maxheimer, M. (2022). "How Coaching Services Help Early Stage Entrepreneurs: An Exploration of Gender Differences,” Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, (external link, opens in new window) 
Maxheimer, M. and Nicholls-Nixon, C. (2021). “What Women Want (and Need) from Coaching Relationships During Business Incubation,” Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Special Issue Advancing Knowledge: Women Entrepreneurship in Canada. (external link, opens in new window) 
Nicholls-Nixon, C., and Valliere, D. (2021). “Entrepreneurial Logic and Fit: A Cross-level Model of Incubator Performance,” International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, 27(7): 1696-1723. (external link, opens in new window) 
Nicholls-Nixon, C., Valliere, D., Gedeon, S., and Wise, S. (2021). “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and the Lifecycle of University Business Incubators: An Integrative Case Study,” International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 17 (2): 809-837. (external link, opens in new window) 
Hassannezhad Chavoushi, Z. Nicholls-Nixon, C., Valliere, D. (2020). “Mentoring Fit, Social Learning, and Venture Progress During Business Incubation,” Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 22 (14): 23-39. DOI: 10.33423/jabe.v22i14.3963
Nicholls-Nixon, C., and Valliere, D. (2020). “A Framework for Exploring Heterogeneity in University Business Incubators,” Entrepreneurship Research Journal, 10 (3). (external link, opens in new window) 
Nicholls-Nixon, C., Valliere, D., and, Hassannezhad Chavoushi, Z. (2018). “A Typology of University Business Incubators: Implications for Research and Practice,” Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship,  p. 535-544.
Valliere, D., and Nicholls-Nixon, C. (2018). “University Business Incubators: Standardized Indicators,” Entrepreneurship Research Institute (ERI) White Paper.
Valliere, D., and Nicholls-Nixon, C. (2018). “The Challenge of Assessing Zone Performance,” Entrepreneurship Research Institute (ERI) White Paper.
Nicholls-Nixon, C., and Valliere, D. (2017). “Business Incubation Activity at Ryerson University: An examination of current practices and data reporting needs,” Entrepreneurship Research Institute (ERI) White Paper.
Course code Course title
ENT 500 New Venture Startup
ENT 56A/B Entrepreneurial Skills Development
ENT 78A/B Advanced Entrepreneurship
Year Honour / Award
2019 TRSM Research Recognition Award
2019 Awarded Two (2) Mitacs Globalink Summer Research Interns
2017 TRSM- OVPRI Summer Student grant
2016 TRSM-FB PolyU Research Collaboration grant