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Challenges facing new firms commercialising nanomaterials


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Maine, Elicia 
Garnsey, Elizabeth 


This paper examines the industrial incentives for commercialising advanced materials and, in particular, nanomaterials with reference to issues raised in the technology strategy and technology entrepreneurship literature. We draw on longitudinal empirical data to show that smaller and newer firms are playing an increasing role in the commercialisation of advanced materials innovations. However, new technology based firms face substantial barriers to commercialisation, including access to the complementary assets of large firms and institutions. To illustrate these challenges, we examine a case study of a start-up firm commercialising carbon nanotubes. Through use of an open systems model, we characterize their alliances and interactions in attempting to commercialise their products in several markets. This analysis illustrates the daunting challenges facing start-up firms as they attempt to commercialise advanced materials innovations. The most difficult challenge appears to be one of prioritisation of development objectives and, subsequently, of alliance building. Proposed policy recommendations focus on supporting the entrepreneurial process of matching technology resources and alliance-building with market opportunities.



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