Entrepreneurship, Cooperation and the Firm
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Entrepreneurship, Cooperation and the Firm

The Emergence and Survival of High-Technology Ventures in Europe

Edited by Jan Ulijn, Dominique Drillon and Frank Lasch

The book is an exceptional result of a distinctive network of European and American scholars, practitioners, and members of public institutions interested in the critical issues of emergence and survival of technology and knowledge based firms. The contributors study examples from both the old EU-member states such as France, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, as well as newer countries such as Slovenia and Estonia. The book is unique in bringing culture and psychology together in the particular context of the nascent technopreneur.
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Chapter 12: Early-Stage Networking: How Entrepreneurs Use their Social Capital to Establish and Develop High-tech Start-ups

Paul Kirwan, Peter van der Sijde and Aard J. Groen


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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