European Research in Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Alain Fayolle and Paula Kyrö
Chapter 10: An Empirical Taxonomy of Start-up Firms’ Growth Trajectories
10. An empirical taxonomy of start-up ﬁrms’ growth trajectories Mahamadou Biga Diambeidou, Damien François, Benoît Gailly, Michel Verleysen and Vincent Wertz INTRODUCTION Over the past decades, new and small ﬁrm growth has received considerable attention from researchers and policy-makers around the world. New ﬁrms have been identiﬁed as engines of growth, innovation and wealth creation (Audretsch and Thurik, 2000; Birch, 1981; Davidsson, 1995; Davidsson et al., 1998; Levie, 1997; OECD, 1994, 1998, 2002; Storey, 1994; Welbourne, 1997). Indeed empirical evidence indicates that only a small proportion of ﬁrms account for a signiﬁcant percentage of new job creation. Those ﬁrms often accelerate the development of new technologies and products that play a fundamental role in the prosperity of many countries (Birch et al., 1997; Julien et al., 2001; Storey, 1997). New ﬁrms are therefore a key element in regional economic development, and represent as such an interesting research subject. Despite their importance to regional development, knowledge about new ﬁrm growth is still scattered (Davidsson and Wiklund, 2000; Delmar, 1997) and little knowledge is available regarding how ﬁrms grow and perform over time (Geroski, 2001). This can be partly attributed to methodological problems, such as the diﬃculties experienced in identifying entrepreneurial ﬁrms. For example, to this concern Gibb and Davies (1990) argued that it is illusory to think that it would be possible to detect this kind of ﬁrm or to produce a complete ideal model. Other international studies concluded that a ‘typical’ high-growth ﬁrm does not...
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