Knowledge flows from incumbent firms to newcomers: The growth performance of innovative SMEs and services start-ups

Olavi Lehtoranta

Research output: Book/ReportReport


The aim of this study is to analyse the knowledge flows from incumbent firms to newcomers in technology and knowledge-based industries. The focus is on the following questions: to what extent does knowledge embodied in labour flows create innovative and successful business activities, especially in services? What kinds of knowledge are flowing into start-ups and where are they originating? The second type of questions is related to the growth effect of spin-offs: do spin-offs grow faster than other start-ups, and do start-ups with job-changers grow faster than other start-ups? We found that the expertise accumulated in the previous workplace has a real effect on the growth of start-ups as well as spin-offs. The growth process of spin-offs, however, differs from that of other start-ups. In addition, spin-offs will reach the high growth phase more often than similar non-spin-offs. Counterparts for the known spin-offs are chosen by using the propensity score matching technique, where the matched groups of firms have approximately the same joint probability distributions in terms of the likelihood to apply for patents, to receive public R&D funding as well of belonging to the same cohort, technology field and the size class of the firms.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages39
ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-7484-1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeNot Eligible

Publication series

SeriesVTT Working Papers


  • corporate spin-offs
  • entrepreneurial spin-offs
  • growth performance
  • high growth start-ups
  • innovative start-ups
  • knowledge intensive services
  • knowledge flows
  • econometric analysis


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