Title: Technological innovation in Canada: a comparison of independent entrepreneurs and corporate innovators

Authors: Russell M. Knight

Addresses: School of Business Administration, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7, Canada

Abstract: This paper compares a sample of 124 independent high-technology entrepreneurs with 112 corporate entrepreneurs (intrapreneurs) involved in developing and introducing high-tech innovations across Canada. The study investigates the general management and technical problems faced by these entrepreneurs and contrasts their approaches to such issues as market research, financing and moving from prototype to mass production. The approaches used by the two groups in analysing their markets, deciding on manufacturing facilities and financing of innovations are compared and contrasted. In general, the independent entrepreneurs were technically trained, usually possessing engineering training and no general management training or experience. Corporate entrepreneurs were as likely to come from management backgrounds as technical, or else supported their lack of general management skills by adding people to their team with skills in marketing, finance and manufacturing. Their problems were more often those of defending their ideas to management within the corporation, obtaining funding and other resources within the firm, and finding a corporate mentor to assist them in such areas as fighting political battles, providing rewards and incentives for team members, and creating the right overall environment or culture for innovation within the corporation.

Keywords: technological innovation; high technology; high-tech entrepreneurs; intrapreneurs; management training; Canada; entrepreneurship; independent entrepreneurs; corporate entrepreneurs.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1989.026039

International Journal of Technology Management, 1989 Vol.4 No.3, pp.273 - 281

Published online: 26 May 2009 *

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