Network Embeddedness in the Internationalization of Biotechnology Entrepreneurs

This study investigates how entrepreneurs of biotech enterprises embed in domestic and international networks so as to internationalize. We advance a contextual framework of embeddedness of internationalizing entrepreneurs, providing a contribution (i) by synthesizing and applying existing conceptual insights from the networking literature to provide a more culturally sensitive view of getting embedded for international entrepreneurship in the biotech industry and (ii) by adding insights into the practices and (micro)processes of how and in what ways embeddedness integrates with the internationalization of biotech entrepreneurs. Our study involves six entrepreneurs from Canada, Finland, and New Zealand. Context-specific embeddedness was studied by exploring the (i) type, (ii) strength, (iii) locality, and (iv) importance of the international and national network ties among internationalizing entrepreneurs. We found differences in relation to the locality of universities and research institutes, role and type of financiers, and customer focus in internationalization. For instance, while customers were central to the embeddedness of Canadian and New Zealand entrepreneurs, Finnish entrepreneurs had no focus on their customers, but acted solely through sales channels and partners. The customer focus of New Zealand entrepreneurs was mainly international, whereas it was domestic in the case of Canadian entrepreneurs.

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