Title: Change of entrepreneurial agenda in a core competence context: exploring the transformation from technology focus to market focus

Authors: Navid Ghannad; Urban Ljungquist

Addresses: School of Business and Engineering, Halmstad University, P.O. Box 823, S-30118 Halmstad, Sweden. ' School of Management, Blekinge Institute of Technology, S-371 79 Karlskrona, Sweden

Abstract: The newest small firms – the start-ups in general and the international new ventures (INV) in particular – face major difficulties from the beginning. Not only do they need to bring competitively unique products to a new, highly competitive market, but they also must be successful in convincing customers of their products' benefits. This ultimate small firm test is in fact very similar to the criteria that define the core competence concept. Still, core competence matters have historically been delimited to large, preferably diversified companies. In this paper, we apply core competence theory and entrepreneurship theories on a small firm's empirical context. We concentrate on technology focused INVs and on the change, or transformation, these start-ups must complete in order to adopt a more market-oriented focus. Without the transformation, we argue, the small firm will not be able to expand. The purpose of the paper is to explore parts of the processes changed during the transformation and to enhance our understanding of core competence applicability on small companies. We formulate propositions, empirically guided and theoretically anchored, that describe four different components that facilitate the small firm technology-to-market transformation.

Keywords: international new ventures; INV; international entrepreneurship; core competencies; entrepreneurial competence; start-ups; strategic change; small firms; technology focus; market focus.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2012.046528

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2012 Vol.4 No.2, pp.148 - 167

Available online: 12 Apr 2012

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