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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | International Business | 2015
Thesis number: 13935
The development of international entrepreneurs in terms of resources and entrepreneurial capabilities: A case study on a Finnish accelerator program
Author: Tiainen, Timo
Title: The development of international entrepreneurs in terms of resources and entrepreneurial capabilities: A case study on a Finnish accelerator program
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; yrittäjyys; entrepreneurship; yrittäjät; entrepreneurs; suorituskyky; efficiency
Pages: 97
Key terms: International entrepreneurs, accelerator programs, business incubation, resources, entrepreneurial capabilities, mechanisms, international new ventures
In this thesis, the phenomenon of business incubation is studied in the context of a Finnish accel- erator program. In the field of business incubation research, development studies are rare, as the focus of the field has been on the facilities of traditional business incubators. This thesis addresses the research gap by studying how participation in an accelerator program can contribute to the development of international entrepreneurs in terms of resources and capabilities. The study fo- cuses on what types of resources and entrepreneurial capabilities international entrepreneurs de- velop and gain access to, and how does this process take place in an accelerator program with a particular interest in the mechanisms, which the accelerator program is built upon.

The theoretical foundation of this thesis is based on research carried out on international entre- preneurship and business incubation with a notable interest in accelerator programs. Based on a literature review on these topics, a theoretical framework was established describing how entre- preneurial development of accelerator program participants was expected to take place from the perspective of resources and entrepreneurial capabilities. The empirical research of the study was conducted as a single case study in the context of the Startup Sauna accelerator program held in spring 2013. During the program, six entrepreneurial teams and their members were followed throughout the program and interviewed twice, both in the beginning and at the end of the pro- gram. In addition, complementary secondary sources of data were used in order to achieve an in- depth description of the chosen case.

In this study, the development of international entrepreneurs is described as a process where the entrepreneurs embedded with different resources and capabilities enter into the Startup Sauna accelerator program. Through participation in the program international entrepreneurs were found to develop and gain access to various resources and entrepreneurial capabilities via several mechanisms consisting of head coaching, mass coaching, classroom sessions, networking events and co-location. In addition, a subset of international entrepreneurs was found to achieve entre- preneurial development via proactive behavior outside the boundaries of the program. As a result, the international entrepreneurs graduated with various types of resources and entrepreneurial capabilities. The resources fall under the themes of knowledge, experience, networks and invest- ments, whereas the entrepreneurial capabilities include marketing, networking and learning. The findings of this thesis indicate that accelerator programs can contribute to the development of both international entrepreneurs and the international new ventures they are part of. As interna- tional entrepreneurs play a significant role in these organizations, accelerator programs may also positively affect the success of international new ventures by strengthening the resource bases and the pools of entrepreneurial capabilities of the small resource poor organizations.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.