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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | International Business | 2015
Thesis number: 14188
Founders' perspective: Finnish digital learning solutions enterprise in formation
Author: Nurmela, Heidi
Title: Founders' perspective: Finnish digital learning solutions enterprise in formation
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; yritykset; companies; kasvu; growth; kansainvälinen; international; oppiminen; learning
Pages: 100
Key terms: international new venture; born global; international entrepreneurship; founder; start-up; Finland; learning industry; case study; edtech
Global digital learning solutions industry has emerged in the recent years as a result of increased demand from the consumer side backed by technological development and favourable public policies. This has attracted the attention of entrepreneurs looking for new business opportunities, investors scanning for potential future high performers, and governments and public entities in search of cost-efficient and scalable solutions.

In Finland public support initiatives to promote Finnish education exports combined with the country's flair for technological innovation and one of the most vibrant start-up scenes in the world has led to an emergence of a number of new ventures developing digital learning solutions to the global markets. The purpose of this study is to understand the phenomenon of the emerging Finnish digital learning solutions industry from the perspective of the start-up founders. The objective is to identify the internal and external factors that have influenced the early stages of the development of the companies and understand the founders' perception of these factors.

The literature review explores existing research related to international venture foundation. The topic falls under the research domain of International Entrepreneurship. Existing literature suggests that the main internal factors for international venture formation are founder, resources, opportunity, product, and organisation, and the main external factors are markets, technology, and public support. The internal and external factors are highly interconnected.

In order to understand the context which the case companies originate from, secondary data is collected from various sources. The main empirical part of the study is conducted as qualitative research and is carried out as a multiple case study. The sample consists of three founders of Finnish digital learning solutions start-ups and the data is obtained through semi-structured interviews with these founders. Individual case analyses are first performed, after which a cross-case analysis across the three cases is conducted.

Based on the cross-case analysis the main internal factors that influence the formation of Finnish digital learning solutions enterprise are founder, resources, organisation, and processes. The main external factors are markets, industry, public support, and environment. The study indicates that the founder is the most important factor for international venture foundation. There is more variation in the perception of the founder related to the internal factors than to the external factors.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.