In this study, we argue that speed of innovation is important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural contexts because their location often restricts economies of scale and competing on price of delivery. We study speed of innovation with an emphasis on proximity between external actors and the firm. We use a qualitative single-case study approach to investigate the innovation process in a manufacturing SME within the plastic industry located in northern Norway. We investigate the speed in the development phase and the launching phase through retrospective informant stories. Our main findings are that dimensions, degree, and dynamics of proximity in relationships to external actors influence speed of innovation. For SMEs in rural contexts, geographical proximity varies across the different phases and actors, and is a foundation for the development of social and cognitive proximity. In addition, we found that social proximity is important to implement the opportunity potential in terms of cognitive proximity.
Eva J.B. Jørgensen and Line Mathisen
Eva J.B. Jørgensen and Einar Rasmussen
The international entrepreneurship literature has identified different kinds of international new ventures (INVs) such as Born Global firms, multinational traders, export–import ventures and geographically focused ventures. While some of these firms have attracted much attention during recent years (e.g., Born Globals), other types have remained comparatively unexplored. Despite their prevalence and importance, there is still scant knowledge related to geographically focused INVs. In this study we explore the creation and internationalization of a special type of geographically focused INVs that we label border firms. Border firms develop opportunities across the border to only one adjacent foreign country. To understand more about the unique internationalization processes of these firms, we build on the existing insights in relation to new venture creation and development processes from the entrepreneurship literature which emphasizes entrepreneurial opportunities and contexts of venture location. We also make use of a theory building approach and data from various sources in seven Norwegian case companies operating across the border between Norway and Russia. This study contributes to the extension of international entrepreneurship theory, both by identifying a new type of geographically focused INV, the border firms, and by exploring what opportunities they develop. In addition, we offer propositions explaining how the opportunity development processes of border firms are related to different contexts of venture location. This chapter sheds light on some important aspects of the creation processes of firms that internationalize in only one foreign country.