The paper argues that technology-intensive small firms often need to internationalise their activities, and especially sales, at a very early stage of their development because of the limited and global nature of the technological market niche which they have been set up to exploit. From a survey of 100 such firms in the Cambridge and Oxford regions, it demonstrates that many technology-based smaller firms are engaged in a range of international networks and internationalisation processes, including internationalisation of markets, research collaboration, labour recruitment, ownership and facilities location. Technology-intensive firms reporting high levels of internationalisation also differ significantly from those which are more nationally-oriented, for example in terms of size, age, research intensity, university links, and innovativeness. There are also differences with respect to recent growth rates. Finally, the paper demonstrates that far from substituting international for local networks, technology-intensive firms which have achieved high levels of internationalisation in fact also exhibit above-average levels of local networking with respect to research collaboration and intra-industry links. Internationalisation therefore appears to be grounded or embedded in successful local networking and research and technology collaboration.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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