Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Chapter 4: The private sector: MNEs and SMEs
Private sector contributions to the development and growth of agricultural biotechnology (agbiotech) are comprised of those arising from a relatively small number of large Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) together with the output of numerous innovative Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). This chapter explores the major drivers of industry structure and firm behaviour in the agbiotech sector. Key themes include mergers, acquisitions and increasing industry concentration among MNEs, entrepreneurship and the management of knowledge resources, and an ever-evolving pattern of alliances and networks. The chapter explores various models and methods that have been used to examine these issues. Multinational Enterprises, also commonly called Multinational Corporations (MNCs), are large firms that operate across national boundaries in more than one country, often with a diverse portfolio of products. In the context of agbiotech, the dominant MNEs acted strategically in the 1990s to position themselves as life-science companies operating across pharmaceutical, agriculture-related, and nutrition or consumer portfolios, with significant investments in the application of biotechnology to seeds, crop protection, animal health and human health. In contrast, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are firms whose number of employees and turnover fall below certain limits.
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