|dc.description.abstract||Purpose – This qualitative, case-based research investigates the internationalization and
growth process of Canadian high-tech start-ups (HSFs). This research observes tensions
between literature and entrepreneurial tendencies, explores relevant factors to the
internationalization process such as the entrepreneur’s characteristics, and proposes an
integrated theoretical model. This analysis will serve to identify practical implications
and a future research agenda.
Design & Approach – Three research questions are posed to support the outlined
objective. An exploratory case study approach was chosen to observe the growth process
of eight Canadian HSFs of varying size and stage. Data was collected through in-depth
interviews with founders, which was then used to establish a case narrative in the context
of the proposed research questions and preform cross-case analysis.
Findings – The Lean Start-up model best represents the Canadian HSF
internationalization process. The process differs to traditional MNEs, as key decisions
such as entry mode are less relevant to HSFs. Instead, the process is dictated by the
founder’s ability to build their network and identify business opportunities through
informal relationships and utilize existing international knowledge and experience.
Research Limitations – This thesis is limited to the Canadian HSF industry. Certain
conclusions may be applicable to other SMOPECs; however, they may not be
generalizable to HSFs in alternate markets or industries. This research would benefit
from the combination of both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and the
application of longitudinal analysis.
Practical Implications – While several practical implications are identified throughout
this paper, three stand out in particular: 1) Founders primarily enter the U.S. as their
initial market and use Canada as their demo market to acquire knowledge. 2)
Entrepreneurial competencies dictate the firm’s internationalization process; firms that
lack knowledge of international markets should seek advisors with foreign knowledge
early in the process to identify opportunities. 3) Founders primarily use informal
networks to facilitate growth; connections through incubators and informal advisors
enable knowledge acquisition.
Originality – There is no recent research observing Canadian HSF internationalization
utilizing a case study approach. Previous research on this topic does not establish an
integrated theoretical framework or observe emerging research trends in detail such as
informal networks or entrepreneurial characteristics.
Contribution & Future Research – An integrated theoretical model is proposed along
with a comprehensive outline of the HSF internationalization process. Research questions
are established with reference to relevant research agendas, exploring topics such as the
knowledge acquisition process and the role of the entrepreneur in international growth. A
research agenda outlines potential finance applications of the internationalisation process,
particularly the use of real options.||en_US