business-to-business networks

Although the research focused on business-to-business networks it is clear that
science partners – universities, research institutes and independent research and
design laboratories – play a crucial role as independent network brokers allowing
different business systems to meet, by acting as a trusted and neutral link. They are
especially useful when radical innovation is required, as they enable firms to develop
thinking outside their specialist field.
In some cases, however, third parties may actually hinder innovation. For example,
where trade associations operate with exclusivity they do not foster the trust,
confidence and openness necessary for the network to prosper.
One method
of extending
the innovation
boundaries
while limiting
unwanted
knowledge
leaks could be to
use gatekeepers.Co-investment
Finance networks – including business angels and venture capital firms – provide
an important element of i-works infrastructure. A critical strength of venture finance
networks is that they provide the opportunity for co-investment. Co-investment is
beneficial for venture capital firms as well as providing firms with better quality and
larger funds.
Finance networks also support innovation in other ways. For example, they act as
knowledge brokers within technology and innovation networks – making introductions
between firms.
In summary, networked approachers to investment:
¦ Spread risk
¦ Engage more people around the venture, assisting learning
¦ Encourage larger funds to be invested in appropriate ventures
¦ Create greater network opportunities
¦ Enable entrepreneurial firms to grow more quickly
…the emotional
support that an
entrepreneur
receives
from their
network can
make the
difference
between
continuing
and giving up.
1011
Start-ups and established firms both benefit from a networked approach to
investment

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