The Emergence and Survival of High-Technology Ventures in Europe
Edited by Jan Ulijn, Dominique Drillon and Frank Lasch
Chapter 12: Early-Stage Networking: How Entrepreneurs Use their Social Capital to Establish and Develop High-tech Start-ups
12. Early-stage networking: how entrepreneurs use their social capital to establish and develop high-technology start-ups Paul Kirwan, Peter van der Sijde and Aard J. Groen INTRODUCTION The entrepreneurial eﬀorts of high-technology small ﬁrms play an important role with respect to the development of national economies and the sustainable redistribution of wealth (Birch, 1987). Entrepreneurial ‘churning’ and new business creation are recognized as being among the most important drivers of a country’s economic development and growth (Reynolds and White, 1996; During et al., 2001). The importance of high-technology ﬁrms is highlighted by Kirchhoﬀ (1994), who found that when compared to non-technology-based ﬁrms, high-technology ﬁrms contribute disproportionately with respect to both job and wealth creation. Countries whose high-technology ﬁrms display an ability to exploit the opportunities created through technological advances (for example, in laser, bio/life sciences, nano/MST (Micro Systems Technology) and information technology) have been found to have increased wealth (Madsen et al., 2004). The importance of high-technology ﬁrms to national economies has been reﬂected in the various support initiatives instigated by local, regional and government agencies to assist these start-up ﬁrms in their development and growth (see, for example, Kirwan et al., 2006b) for examples of these support agencies and initiatives in practice). Entrepreneurs establishing high-technology ﬁrms are faced with the traditional problems of starting a venture, gathering scarce resources, acquiring knowledge, establishing a reputation and attracting suppliers, customers and partners (Birley and Cromie, 1988; O’Farrell and Hitchens, 1988; Autio et al., 1997; Brush et al., 2001). High-technology ﬁrms...
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