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Translating knowledge in new entrepreneurial ventures: the role of business plan development

Francesca Dal Mas (Department of Management, Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)
Maurizio Massaro (Department of Management, Ca’Foscari University of Venice, Venezia, Italy)
Paola Paoloni (Department of Law and Economics of Productive Activities, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)
Aino Kianto (School of Business and Management, LUT University, Lahti, Finland)

VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems

ISSN: 2059-5891

Article publication date: 2 September 2021

Issue publication date: 20 November 2023




This paper aims to analyse the role of business plan development as a knowledge translation tool, especially for the creation of start-ups. In a complex knowledge ecosystem populated by multiple diverse and autonomous actors (such as potential entrepreneurs, local companies, local public entities and business consultants) bonded together by a joint search for valuable knowledge, business plan development can work as a powerful enabler for the translation of knowledge.


The study uses a qualitative multi-case study approach by examining the results of a public programme devoted to the creation of new entrepreneurial ventures. The authors analysed 418 complete business plans and followed up with all the participants with an interview. In total, 40 cases were investigated more in detail.


Results show how business plan development can function as a bridge between academic, theoretical and general knowledge on start-up creation on the one hand and practical contextualised activities of potential entrepreneurs on the other.

Practical implications

The process of knowledge translation is crucial to ensure that relevant knowledge coming from both the inside (the entrepreneur) and outside (the stakeholders) of the organisation is effectively applied. To facilitate the translation process, key knowledge users should be supported in contextualising and making sense of the research knowledge. Initiatives carried out by local entities and other actors, gathering several stakeholders to develop business plans, can become valuable opportunities to facilitate the translation process for start-up development.


The paper contributes to knowledge management and knowledge translation literature by demonstrating the role of business plan development as an effective knowledge translation enabler. It also adds to the understanding of innovation management and entrepreneurial education by proving the relevance of the translation of knowledge for the creation of new business ventures.



Dal Mas, F., Massaro, M., Paoloni, P. and Kianto, A. (2023), "Translating knowledge in new entrepreneurial ventures: the role of business plan development", VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, Vol. 53 No. 6, pp. 1159-1177.



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