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Network! Network! Network! How global technology start-ups access modern business ecosystems

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  • Tahvanainen, Antti-Jussi
  • Steinert, Martin

Abstract

to connect to critical stakeholders and, thereby, to integrate into foreign business ecosystems. Reverting to explorative, inductive methodology, the study contributes to the existing body of knowledge by approaching networking from a rare angle; networking as practice. The study examines (i) the precepts and principles that direct the start-ups’ networking efforts, (ii) the practices they employ to identify relevant partners and establish connections to them, (iii) the practices they make use of in the interface of newly established connections to sway and commit the respective partners to their cause and network, and finally (iv), the practices that offshore governmental agency nodes apply to help start-ups assimilate to foreign local ecosystems. We found that firms need to embrace and learn how to exploit serendipitous networking opportunities to gain access to stakeholders that purely ansoffian planning approaches could never uncover. The exploitation of serendipity necessitates flexibility with regard to the start-ups’ existing product or service concepts, strategies and business plans because in the serendipitous mode these are often re- and co-designed with newly encountered stakeholders. Many of the actual networking practices were found to have evolved together with the progress of other dominant megatrends such as the spread and acceptance of social and other digital media. Such progress seems to have endogenously affected some of the conventional cultural tenets of networking, helping to bypass hierarchical gatekeepers in organizations, for instance. In addition, the diffusion and acceptance of more content- and context-rich communication techniques such as social and mobile video, prototyping and story-telling have made pitching a proposal faster, more holistic, experiential and interactive. We further found that offshore governmental agency nodes can play a decisive role in accelerating and facilitating the integration of foreign newcomers into a local ecosystem. Important prerequisite for the capability to provide such services is a respected and established status within the ecosystem, a vast, cross-sectoral network, and professional employees with hands-on industrial experience in the respective ecosystem.

Suggested Citation

  • Tahvanainen, Antti-Jussi & Steinert, Martin, 2013. "Network! Network! Network! How global technology start-ups access modern business ecosystems," ETLA Working Papers 4, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:rif:wpaper:4
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    Keywords

    networking; practice; network access; entrepreneurship; ecosystem; globalization;

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