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Free Content Networks and networking activities of innovative firms in incubators

An exploratory study

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Abstract:

It has been widely argued that networks are critical for innovative firms. In the effort to support the growth of these firms, incubators seem to institutionalize support by having systems in place to encourage networking and help firms develop networks with other tenants and potential business allies. However, there is a lack of critical empirical investigation of the different types of networks developed by firms. This paper addresses this issue by systematically examining how firms in incubators develop their networks and what types of networks they might aim to build. The study is based on a survey with firms located at Daresbury Science and Innovation Centre in the UK. The results suggest that incubators often generalize their network support without considering that firms may develop different networks based on their needs. The results also demonstrate that the characteristics of firms do play a role in determining types of network. Science and engineering firms develop networks that differ from those of service and IT firms due to their need to access resources from other innovative firms in incubators, from the Science and Technology Facilities Council and from universities. Similarly, small firms are forced to establish internal and external networks in an attempt to compensate for their lack of resources. Overall, the findings suggest that academic theory on networks of firms in incubators needs to be more nuanced and that the networking support provided by incubators needs to be customized to the actual needs of the incubating firms.

Keywords: ENTREPRENEURSHIP; INCUBATORS; INNOVATIVE FIRMS; NETWORKS; SUPPORT

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5367/ijei.2011.0027

Publication date: May 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Published quarterly, this journal provides a worldwide forum for the exploration and dissemination of ideas and experience relating to the development and application of entrepreneurship. IJEI is interdisciplinary, publishing the highest-quality work in business and management and in the social sciences. Authors and readers are drawn from government, industry and universities. It has particular appeal to researchers and teachers in higher education, especially in business schools, and university departments of management, sociology and psychology.

    Each issue includes double-blind peer-reviewed papers; a case study with teaching notes, an 'Internet Review' section which identifies and reviews Websites on a selected topic, and book reviews. For key topics go to www.ippublishing.com.
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