The Development of Start-Ups in the Sector of Knowledge-Intensive Business Services (KIBS)

A huge scientific literature is concerned with various aspects regarding the creation and the early development of newly-founded business entities and many (governmental) programs aim at supporting firm start-ups in their early stages. This is reasonable as it has become common knowledge that the risk of failure is especially high in the very first years of a firm.

However, only little is known about what makes an enterprise mature and survive. Only few studies examine young firms that have survived the first years: which characteristics do they have? How could they be characterized at the time of founding? Are they, for instance, highly innovative entities or firms that are closely embedded in their region?

Finding an answer to these questions is interesting, particularly for policy-makers, as important conclusions for future start-up policy could be drawn from knowledge about the specific factors of firm success.

Based on an earlier empirical survey on the success factors of KIBS start-ups conducted in 2003 in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for System and Innovation Research Karlsruhe (ISI), in the present study a part of the firms surveyed in 2003 have been interviewed again and their situation today is compared to the situation in 2003. All start-ups were founded between 1996 and 2002 and therefore nowadays aged more than 5 years, i.e. an age after which a market drop-out is rather unlikely. In addition to evaluating the standardized questionnaire in-depth research is done for some selected enterprises by means of case studies.

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Project team:

Contact Person:
Dr. Andreas Koch ( +49 7071 9896 12 // E-Mail )


2010 - 2010