New venture support networks (NVSN) are an instrument of enterprise policy with the aim of effectively coordinating the activities of different organisations involved in new venture support. This paper aims to illuminate the role of certain key actors in facilitating and maintaining cooperation in such networks, which are characterised by a heterogeneous actor structure and a lack of a network culture due to having been established by political initiative.
This paper discusses case studies in five German NVSN, which are all part of the governmental initiative “EXIST – Entrepreneurs from Universities”, established in 1998.
Identifies three general functions for key actors: generating benefits for the member organisations from without and within the network; communicating these benefits to the member organisations; and maintaining a balance between the heterogeneous interests of the network partners.
The study identifies the roles that key actors perform in the EXIST networks, but it does not show any causal relation as to the actual success of the key actors.
The results can be applied in planning and managing enterprise policy and other projects involving inter‐organisational cooperation with a heterogeneous range of actors.
This is the first examination of the role of key actors in the context of NVSN, which are themselves a recent phenomenon and a novel concept in academic literature.
Koch, L., Kautonen, T. and Grünhagen, M. (2006), "Development of cooperation in new venture support networks: the role of key actors", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 62-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/14626000610645315Download as .RIS
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