Business Incubators as International Knowledge Intermediaries: Exploring their role in the internationalization of start-ups from an emerging market

Qiuling Gao, Li Cui, Yong Kyu Lew, Zijie Li, Zaheer Khan* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper investigates how business incubators facilitate the international growth of start-up clients originating from emerging markets. Drawing key insights from a network perspective, we explore the processes by which business incubators create international linkages between the networks of knowledge creation and knowledge application. Our analysis of interviews and archival data on five Chinese high-tech business incubators reveals that clients-interface, market-interface, and knowledge recombination practices of the business incubators create international knowledge linkages, which in turn facilitate the international growth of their start-up clients. This role of incubators as knowledge intermediaries is achieved through several networking and learning mechanisms, including clustering and coaching of international clients, upstream and downstream networking in international markets, and client-market matchmaking internally. This study demonstrates business incubators as an efficient modality of internationalization for locally bound international knowledge and network scarce start-up clients.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100861
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of International Management Studies
Volume27
Issue number4
Early online date11 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 May 2021

Keywords

  • business incubators
  • internationalization
  • knowledge intermediary
  • start-up clients
  • emerging markets
  • network

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