Title: The role of entrepreneurs| social networks in the creation and early development of biotechnology companies

Authors: Cristina Sousa, Margarida Fontes, Pedro Videira

Addresses: INETI & DINAMIA, INETI – Departamento de Modelacao e Simulacao, Estrada da Portela – Zambujal – Apartado 7586, 2721-866 Alfragide, Lisboa, Portugal. ' INETI & DINAMIA, INETI – Departamento de Modelacao e Simulacao, Estrada da Portela – Zambujal – Apartado 7586, 2721-866 Alfragide, Lisboa, Portugal. ' DINAMIA, Edificio ISCTE, Avenida das Forcas Armadas, 1649-026 Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract: This paper addresses the influence of entrepreneurs| social networks on early access and mobilisation of resources in a science-based field. Combining contributions from the technological entrepreneurship and the social network literature, it is proposed that different network configurations – in terms of origin, composition and structure – are associated with the mobilisation of different types of key resources. A new methodology is developed that permits to assemble a vast array of data capturing the nature and contents of key relationships. It is applied in an exploratory way, to the case of Portuguese biotechnology, enabling to (re)construct, analyse and compare the networks mobilised by firms to obtain: tangible resources; scientific and technological knowledge; credibility and mediation. The results confirm the methodology usefulness to gain an in-depth understanding on the process of network building and network mobilisation, as well as on the contribution of different types of networks to the entrepreneurial process.

Keywords: technological entrepreneurship; social networks; biotechnology firms; networking; resource mobilisation; network configurations; key resources; data capture; relationships; Portugal; tangible resources; scientific knowledge; credibility; mediation; technological knowledge; network building; entrepreneurial processes; spatial distribution; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; entrepreneurs.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2011.038538

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2011 Vol.12 No.2, pp.227 - 244

Available online: 10 Feb 2011

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