From workrooms to the world: How public funding and institutional practices can support the building of the antecedents for early internationalization. Case: Finnish research based spin-offs

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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International Business
Kansainvälinen liiketoiminta
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The first objective of this study was to identify the antecedents of early internationalization of academic spin-offs and Born Globals. In addition and accordance to the title, the second objective was to evaluate how the projects teams are supported by TUTL, a public funding scheme by Tekes, and other institutional practices in building those antecedents. The third and last objective was to draw implications for the future funding and support structures to support the formation of the antecedents of early internationalization in academic spin-off projects. This study was conducted as a qualitative research in the context of projects, which had received TUTL funding from Tekes. The data was collected through a survey and interviews through three sources. The survey was send to projects, which had received TUTL and ended by the end of 2014 at the latest. The three groups that were interviewed were Tekes employees, project managers from projects, which had received the funding and business development managers from five research institutions. The research institutions included institutions in which public research is executed, such as Universities, public research institutions and Universities of Applied Sciences among others. Academic spin-offs and Born Globals were found to include several similar characteristics and from those, the main antecedents of early internationalization of academic spin-off projects for this study were drawn. They were commercialization-, home institution-, team- and network-based. Results of this study indicate that the main influences by which TUTL supports the projects in building the antecedents are the commercialization are the pre-selection of projects and especially the pre-requirement together with the financial support. The other institutional practices were the structural processes inside the home institutions, managerial knowledge they provided and their role as provider of networks. Lastly, the study makes suggestions in order for the funding instruments and institutional practices to support the internationalizing academic spin-off projects better in the future. These suggestions include the revisions of pre-requirements and including a clause for internationalization, an evaluation made on the background of the project team members who apply for funding and improvement of the institutional processes by creating structural processes for internationalization in addition to commercialization.
academic spin-offs, Born Globals, antecedents of internationalization, internationalization, commercialization, public funding, institutional practices, home institution support, academic research commercialization
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