New Technology-Based Firms in the New Millennium: Volume 11

Cover of New Technology-Based Firms in the New Millennium
Subject:

Table of contents

(19 chapters)
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List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Introduction

Pages 1-7
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Part I: Internationalisation

Abstract

Using a series of case studies, we show that global mindset is at the heart of global growth and opportunity for entrepreneurial ventures. We review how having an entrepreneurial mindset and international experience influence the rapidity of internationalization by discussing the entrepreneurial process and how the global mindset of founders of born global firms influences their choices in the competitive landscape. This chapter closes with a discussion of a continuum — globalization frustrated (focusing on firms with entrepreneurs that have global mindsets but cannot internationalize) to globalization mandated (focusing on firms that are forced to be global).

Abstract

Business networks are of critical importance to firms and essential to the internationalisation of born-global and international new venture firms. Networking literature focuses on what are, generally, co-operative relationships and their effects between actors, activities and resources and illustrate the importance of quality and change in the networking process. Utilising Fletcher and Harris’ (2012) framework for understanding knowledge acquisition processes in internationalisation, this study investigates the importance of direct and indirect roles played by third parties in the networking for internationalisation processes of three different firm types within the knowledge-based natural health products (NHPs) (pharmaceutical) sector in Canada. The research presented here examines nine case studies of Canadian NHP firms and reveals that they utilised all network-related internationalisation processes simultaneously to internationalise including Johanson and Mattsson’s (1988, 1994) network theory, Johanson and Vahlne’s (2003) updated the Uppsala Model and the resource-based perspective on network theory (Ruzzier et al., 2006). They networked with and extensively utilised third parties, including government bodies, trade associations, government advisors, consultants and other domestic networks with international ties, in Canada and internationally to gain technical, market and internationalisation knowledge, and direct and indirect experiential knowledge which contributed to the internationalisation process confirming the study by Fletcher and Harris (2012). In a departure from the literature, this study found that weak ties (Granovetter, 1973) developed with third parties who were new to the networks allowed the NHP firms to develop competitive advantages necessary for them to overcome the liability of outsidership in entering new international markets. The type of technical, market and internationalisation knowledge gained, its content and the direct and indirect sources of knowledge from third parties were all shown to contribute to the internationalisation process.

Part II: Start-Up and Commercialisation

Abstract

The healthcare sector faces severe problems due to increasing costs, decreasing workforce and an increasing share of elderly people. Innovation is proposed as the main cure. However, there are several barriers that prevent new ideas from becoming innovations. In this chapter we focus on the biomedical engineering sector and the barriers to commercialisation that are present for applied research projects within this sector. We describe and categorise the barriers and discuss their implications and how they could be overcome. This study has a longitudinal approach and is based on data collected annually through half-structured interviews for approximately 40 research and development projects at four universities, two hospitals and one municipality healthcare centre, across eastern and central Sweden. Our results found a broad range of barriers to commercialisation, which have been categorised as follows: (1) Barriers coupled to the healthcare sector per se, for example security regulations, procedures for governmental procurement and the industry structure. (2) Barriers related to the market structure, for example public procurement matters and the fact that hospitals commonly look for holistic solutions rather than pieces and gadgets that solve isolated parts of problems. (3) Barriers related to entrepreneurship attitudes among researchers. The findings contribute to research on the ability to create innovation in a highly prioritised sector.

Abstract

Commercialization of research projects at the university, in particular, its efficiency and performance, have attracted little attention in the empirical literature to date. This despite the fact that commercialization of university knowledge is increasingly seen as a third task of universities and understanding of what enhances and what blocks the processes involved, is virtually lacking, particularly on the project level. The purpose of this chapter is therefore to identify factors that influence the performance of university-driven knowledge projects, including efficiency, in the context of commercialization of knowledge at universities. In this context, the study employs Data Envelop Analysis combined with Rough-Set Analysis on a sample of 42 projects in the Netherlands. The major factors influencing overall performance in commercialization turn out to be years of collaboration with large firms and efficiency in use of resources in the projects, but the affinity of the project managers at university with the market also plays a role. The best overall results in commercialization (introduction to market in a relatively short time) are gained with a longer period of collaboration with large firms (5–10 years) and a medium level of efficiency. There are also some contradictory trends. The chapter concludes with implications of the results, as well as some future research paths.

Abstract

This chapter examines the processes of entrepreneurial network and capital formation at a university-based incubator. Incubators could help overcome start-up firms to gain access to entrepreneurial networks and credibility with external stakeholders, by supporting the entrepreneurial processes including the acquisition of variety of capitals and resources. However, the actual evidence on the effectiveness of incubators as a policy tool for business support has been rather contested. This chapter makes a contribution to the entrepreneurship literature by addressing the underlying processes of incubation as a key factor critical to achieve accelerated firm growth at the university-based technology incubator. Drawing on interviews and survey of start-up firms at a university-based incubator, co-evolution of business models with capital mobilisation and re-combination of resources is illustrated. The chapter concludes by arguing that more detailed processes and trajectories of ‘soft starter’ business model would contribute to the understanding and development of policy support for entrepreneurial processes.

Part III: Clusters and Entrepreneurship

Abstract

Enterprise software is a predominant sector in the European software industry. Four of the five largest European software companies are found in this sector. Interestingly, two of these — among them SAP as one of the two global market leaders — are located within the same industrial agglomeration in South-Western Germany. This agglomeration, the SAP cluster, further consists of enterprise software SMEs forming a ‘satellite system’ centred around the large players, which fosters the formation of ‘mutualistic symbiotic’ relationships between large and small firms. At first sight, cluster formation in the context of the enterprise software industry might seem perplexing considering that traditional rationales of agglomeration economies seem obsolete in an environment where advances in communications technology would permit companies to locate in any location within a modern developed economy instead of concentrating in proximity to each other or to major players in the industry. This chapter explores possible explanations of this agglomeration phenomenon based on patterns of competition, collaboration and the formation of social capital between smaller firms and large anchor firms.

The findings of a comparative analysis between the SAP cluster environment and two categories of controls (firms in other agglomerated environments and those unaffected by agglomeration effects within Germany) show that SAP cluster SMEs might simultaneously benefit from heightened intensity of competition and a more pronounced inclination towards collaboration. Moreover, the role of social capital derived from SAP as anchor firm clearly differentiates SAP cluster participants from firms located within other environments.

Abstract

This chapter aims to enrich knowledge about cluster initiatives acting as intermediaries primarily between members in a cluster or in regional context. This is a practically oriented manuscript written to contribute to refinement of existing policies by proposing recommendations based on recent empirical studies regarding funding, actors’ and activities’ content, as well as cluster initiatives’ assessment. It is proposed that public support should be balanced, targeting new as well as established, well-functioning cluster initiatives. Furthermore, regional authorities should encourage multifaceted collaboration (e.g., Triple Helix), stimulate variation in activities to maximize the benefit of cluster initiatives as well as define and communicate success factors that make it possible to evaluate cluster initiatives from a holistic perspective. These recommendations are primary aimed for regional authorities and reflect a bottom-up perspective where both logic of initiatives’ actions and their development are captured. Yet, even national authorities can make use of the recommendations in this chapter to improve governance of cluster initiatives and to determine further directions of regional policies.

Part IV: Higher Education and Entrepreneurship

Abstract

In this chapter we aim at examining the influence of early top management teams (TMTs) on the growth performance of university-based spin-off firms, presenting an empirical research on spin-off companies in Italy. The chapter proceeds along the following lines. First we describe the context of analysis, briefly reviewing the literature on TMT and performance. In the second section we outline the hypotheses of our research. The third section describes the sample and the method for the empirical analysis. The fourth section presents and discusses the results. In the last section we highlight the main implications and limitations of our results and suggest further lines of research.

Abstract

This chapter explores emerging concerns and issues of University and Business Co-operation (UBC) at Indonesian universities. Over decades, the Indonesian government has been implemented policies and strategies to stimulate collaboration between universities and business by offering them a variety of funding schemes. It has been aimed to foster innovation and to reach the government ambition, to make Indonesia as a country in the innovation-driven economy by 2020. Our study was based on a desk evaluation and the secondary data. We collected and examined documents of the governmental policies, universities’ strategies, relevant UBC articles, etc. in order to get an overview of UBC in Indonesia. Our findings suggests that the participation rate of universities and academics in UBC, especially with those funded by the government, remains low. The government expected more participation by offering more funds; however, it was not successfully achieved. We conclude that to increase the participation of universities and academics in UBC, they need to resolve the different institutional logics with their business counterparts.

Part V: Strategy and Growth

Abstract

This chapter presents research to assess the impact of the recent financial crisis on technology-based small firms (TBSFs) in the United Kingdom based on findings from an extended telephone survey with the owner-managers of 49 young and 51 more mature TBSFs, undertaken in 2010. Even before the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007, it was generally acknowledged that TBSFs faced greater obstacles in accessing finance than conventional SMEs. This is because banks have difficulty assessing the viability of new technology-based business ventures due to information asymmetries, whilst risk capital providers may have difficulty providing appropriate or sufficient funds on terms acceptable to entrepreneurs. Given the recent difficulties that SMEs, in general, have faced in obtaining external finance, we would expect TBSFs to have been particularly adversely affected by the financial crisis. Our evidence showed that TBSFs exhibited a strong demand for external finance between 2007 and 2010, related to their growth ambitions and achievements. They sought finance mainly from banks but also with younger TBSFs seeking business angel finance and more mature TBSFs seeking venture capital finance. However, our evidence indicates that both debt and equity finance became harder to access for TBSFs, particularly for early-stage and more R&D-intensive firms. Where funding was offered, it was often on unacceptable terms with regards to the levels of collateral or equity required. The chapter provides evidence of a growing funding gap and concludes that the ability of TBSFs to contribute to economic recovery is hampered by ongoing problems in obtaining external finance.

Abstract

For a new technology-based firm, the ability to learn is crucial to their growth process. However, firms constantly face the challenge of maintaining the ambidexterity of two different learning activities, namely learning by exploiting existing competencies and learning through exploring new ones. The purpose of this study is to examine how small technology-based firms at incubators perform both activities. Using the index of network openness, we argue that firms perform ambidexterity by maintaining a balance between a high and low level of network openness. Our first hypothesis was constructed as firms pursuing explorative learning will develop a high level of network openness while those pursuing exploitative learning will develop a low level of network openness. In the second hypothesis, we argue that firms need to balance network openness. Developing too low level of network openness will not add more benefits as the cost for maintaining relationship increases. Similarly, developing too high level of openness may potentially hinder firms’ progress as firms face distractions and difficulties in maintaining a wide variety of relationships. Using the empirical data from new technology-based firms located at the Daresbury SIC, we confirm the hypotheses. The result also found a trend of a curvilinear relationship between network openness and the firms’ performance which confirm the second hypothesis. The overall findings have illustrated how a network has a positive impact on helping small and new technology-based firms perform learning ambidexterity.

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to propose a model of entrepreneurs’ communication strategies in the start-up process by synthesizing previous empirical research. The focus on communication strategies in the start-up process is important for several reasons. We know that many businesses fail during the first year of existence and others are liquidated during the first three years of operation. We also know that new businesses face problems when entering the market. These problems are assumed to arise partly due to the liability of newness (LoN), that is lack of a track record and legitimacy. The model of communication strategies is built upon entrepreneurs’ communicative practices since strategy is seen as a social practice. The chapter also emphasizes communication strategies as being a part of the research field strategic entrepreneurship. The model focuses communicative behaviours in terms of the message and the conversation as well as the chosen strategy in terms of planned and emergent strategies. Three types of communication strategies emerge from the communication practices; (i) content-centred, (ii) behaviour-centred and (iii) adaptive-centred.

Abstract

The changing communication environment transforms social media as a source for obtaining competitive intelligence on rival firms through “social espionage.” This conceptual chapter discusses how the competitive information in the Web, along with the trend of corporate transparency, has created both opportunity and risk for firms in social media. Among the opportunities, we discuss (1) tactical marketing campaigns, (2) encouraging switching behavior, (3) identifying and targeting competitors’ weak points, and (4) learning from their success and failure. On the other hand, we discuss how engaging in social media results in a loss of total control in the dialogue between a firm and its customers and, ultimately, leaves a firm vulnerable to the same opportunistic tactics it may leverage in order to draw benefit from a competitor’s social media presence. Finally, we provide some recommendations aimed at reacting to social espionage in the form of a strategic grid.

Cover of New Technology-Based Firms in the New Millennium
DOI
10.1108/S1876-0228201511
Publication date
2015-06-15
Book series
New Technology Based Firms in the New Millennium
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78560-032-6
eISBN
978-1-78560-032-6
Book series ISSN
1876-0228