Title: Observations on collaborative practices and relative success of small technology-innovating firms supported by the US SBIR initiative

Authors: Jacob V.R. Pretorius, Christopher. L. Magee

Addresses: Director of Product Development, Mide Technology Corporation, 200 Boston Ave, Suite 1000, Medford, MA, 02155, USA. ' Professor of the Practice of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Systems and Director of the Center for Innovation in Product Development, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room E60-275, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Abstract: This paper investigates the nature of collaboration in eight small technology-innovating firms who participated in the US Government sponsored SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) process in 1995/6. The research was performed in 2003 allowing sufficient time to assess the relative success of various practices by the firms following differentiated SBIR processes. Following expectations, all of the firms participated in extensive collaboration. However, in contrast to earlier work studying the same firms in 1998/9, it is found that a SBIR process initiative designed to encourage collaboration with other entities and to accelerate commercial success (||Fast Track Process||) had no influence on whether the firm had commercial and employment growth success. It appears that much of the identified collaboration is due to the need of small firms to extend their understanding of the broader systems implications of the technology they are developing. The paper also describes some perceptions held by small firms about reasons not to collaborate.

Keywords: collaboration; technological innovation; resource allocation; small firms; technology; USA; United States; small business innovative research initiative; SMEs.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEIM.2005.006334

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, 2005 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.4 - 19

Available online: 22 Feb 2005 *

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