December 8, 2022

Partnering to grow – The role of partnerships and collaborations in business model scalability and growth

This report by Umeå University generates insights into the processes and determinants of the scaling up of relief start-up solutions from a business administration perspective. Drawing on the literature on international business, strategic alliances and entrepreneurship, we identify partner portfolio reconfiguration at various stages of the new product diffusion process as a prerequisite for growth and scalability. The very nature of the relief operations in emerging markets makes it necessary to expand the considered set of partners beyond the conventional vertical alliance of customers and suppliers to include relief organizations, universities, consultants, local governmental and international governmental agencies. In particular, we expand on how inward‐facing compliance‐based activities are needed to align business processes with external partner and regulatory demands.

It further suggests that the start-ups should avoid over-reliance on either homogenous partner portfolio that limits a firm’s ability to capture and create valuable opportunities, or over-diversified partner portfolios, for which there are limited capabilities to manage, and which can put economic strain on the firm. Water supply and remediation firms specifically require both stronger networking capabilities and international orientation to achieve higher growth and performance. The report shows that underlying business model transformation of the innovative start-up occurs within the international context and exhibits patterns theoretically similar to those of born-global enterprises – and that it is partner-generated opportunities that result in a fluctuating business model portfolio. 

Read the report below.