Risk capital constraints to innovation in services

Mark S. Freel, Paul Robson, Sarah L. Jack

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Purpose This paper aims to understand the factors associated with perceptions of venture capital as a barrier to innovation in an important subset of knowledge-intensive service firms – technology-based business services. A general and longstanding neglect of services in studies of innovation and a common focus of innovation studies on the availability of, and demand for, risk capital has been noted.Design/methodology/approachIn exploring these issues, the authors draw on survey data collected from 264 technology-based service firms located in Scotland and Northern England. The data are subjected to bivariate and multivariate statistical analyses to help explore the extent of demand-side risk capital concerns.FindingsIt was found that smaller, faster growing and R&D-intensive firms perception greater equity barriers. Moreover, firms who are relatively happy about the managerial competencies available to them, but who identify deficiencies in marketing skills and the availability of external debt finance (which may say something broadly about their financial neediness), are shown to be “needy”. Originality/valueStudies of venture capital demand are relatively rare. Studies involving innovative service firms are rarer still. Given the prominent role of service firms in advanced economies and the changing perspective of the role of services in innovation, studies of financial constraints to innovation in services are timely. Innovation policy in advanced economies continues to be premised on patterns identified in manufacturing industries. This paper contributes to a broader perspective that views [technology-based] business services as dynamic innovation actors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-486
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • service industries

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