Call for Papers: Special Issue on Competitiveness of High-tech Start-ups and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Consulting Editor:

M H Bala Subrahmanya, Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

Guest Editors:

Gita Surie, Department of Management, Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY, USA

Jagannadha Pawan Tamvada, Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Hiro Izushi, Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK

Deepak Chandrashekar, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Bangalore, India

Background and Objectives of the Special Issue

Technology-based entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial ecosystems that nurture the same are now recognized as important aspects that help in shaping the firm-level competitiveness and the national competitiveness respectively of the regions and countries (Ajitabh and Momaya, 2004; Kirchhoff and Spencer, 2008; Acs et al., 2017; Momaya, 2019). The processes of value creation and value capture are enabled by high-tech start-ups that assemble and deploy skilled knowledge workers integrating diverse forms of scientific and knowledge assets to create new products and services (Bailetti, 2012). The positive externalities created due to the emergence and growth of high-tech start-ups in any given region enables innovation, creation of jobs leading to economic development (Kirchhoff and Spencer, 2008; Krishna, 2019). High-tech start-ups and firms also enable generation of intellectual property (IP) which potentially contributes to firms’ innovation and economic performance (Chandrashekar and Bala Subrahmanya, 2017; Chandrashekar and Bala Subrahmanya, 2019). The recent spurt of external VC investments in Indian high-tech start-ups leading to emergence of more than a dozen unicorns (start-ups that are valued at USD 1 billion and above) from India in just the first quarter of 2021 is testimony to the increased attention that this emergent field has obtained from a variety of stakeholders.

At the macro-economic level, entrepreneurial ecosystems have emerged as a new approach to achieve economic development, given that they are seen as the enabling mechanisms for the emergence, survival and growth of high-tech start-ups (Markey and Heisler, 2010; Asongu and Tchamyou, 2016). Even though entrepreneurs are the principal actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the entire lifecycle of high-tech start-ups depends on a variety of other institutions, partners, actors and agents such as customers, financiers (Angels, VCs, etc.), mentors (business and technical), start-up incubators and suppliers (Bala Subrahmanya 2021). The inter-related networks and interactions of all these entities constitute the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the region (Isenberg, 2011; Bala Subrahmanya, 2017). High-tech start-ups depend on these resources, actors and institutions prevailing in their ecosystem to overcome the liability of newness and to overcome the low survival rate in the initial years of operations (Korreck, 2019). The available state of knowledge currently indicates a general consensus that a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem positively impacts the high-tech start-up lifecycle (Cukier et al., 2016), and that those firms which are located in vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems are more likely to succeed relative to those that do not get the ecosystem support (Arruda et al., 2013).

The emergence of high-tech start-ups and the study of their lifecycle have also triggered deeper exploration of new venture types such as International New Ventures (INV), born global firms and micro-multinationals, and more recently platform and ecosystem based new ventures (Singh and Gaur, 2018; Zucchella, 2021). These are broadly explored under the umbrella of International Entrepreneurship (IE), which has been defined as "the discovery, enactment, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities across national borders to create future goods and services" (Oviatt and McDougall, 2005). The lens of IE provides a good framework to understand the factors that help the development of competitiveness of firms both at the firm-level and the national level, besides helping to explore the cognitive and behavioural aspects of entrepreneurs who engage in creation of new products and services (Davidsson and Wiklund, 2007; Buckley and Casson, 2020). These recent forms of enterprise creation, survival and growth provide an opportunity for scholars in the realm of competitiveness, innovation and internationalization to revisit and re-examine the interplay of these phenomena and the impact of these constructs on the firms and regions.

Start-ups often have several advantages such as agility, flexibility and energy, yet start-ups from most countries have major opportunities for improvement (OFIs) and uphill challenges when they strive to catch-up on innovation (Awate et al., 2014) to scale-up on relevant factors of international competitiveness (Momaya, 2001).  This is particularly true for high-tech start-ups from emerging countries, where the depth of components of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and cooperative strategies have major OFIs.  For instance, access to quality capital from banks, financial institutions and other sources of risk capital is often inadequate for most high-tech start-ups in India keen to scale-up internationally. As a result, most of them end-up signing less favourable deals that result in pre-mature loss of ability to “shape destiny of their start-up” or change their identity by relocating corporate headquarter or other corporate functions to Singapore, California or other international cluster.  What need to be led by which stakeholders (from VCs, BFSI institutions to governments) to catch-up in new paradigms (e.g. intensifying contributions from Asia) to evolve better entrepreneurial ecosystems?

Illustrative Topics

It is in the backdrop of the above, this call for special issue (SI) focusing on the competitiveness of entrepreneurial ecosystems and high-tech start-ups assumes importance. Through this SI, amongst other issues, we wish to examine the different phenomena related to competitiveness of high-tech start-ups, knowledge-based firms, organisations, industries (Haldar et al., 2016) and broadly the entrepreneurial ecosystems. The current developments in the world and the prevailing circumstances provide the ideal context to add new knowledge on how high-tech start-ups deal with these uncertainties and what impact start-ups have on firm competitiveness; How can countries support the high-tech start-ups in these times of macro-economic uncertainties and enable them to retain and enhance their competitiveness (Momaya, 2001). This SI invites scholarly contributions on themes which can explain the above phenomena. Specifically, the SI invites empirical contributions from scholars across the world that address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Role of Government, Industry and Academia for development of high-tech clusters and ecosystems
  • Role of Entrepreneurial ecosystems in influencing the competitiveness of high-tech start-ups
  • Methods and mechanisms to address the disparity and differing maturity levels of entrepreneurial ecosystems and its key components (financial institutions, skills of entrepreneurs and their orientation, access to customers etc.)
  • Strategies to overcome challenges of entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging economies (slow scale-up of start-ups or spin-offs from universities, institutional voids between academia and other key partners, limited options for exit of start-ups within India, etc.)
  • Technology business incubators and incubatee growth
  • Role of financial actors–angels, VCs, banks and crowd-funders–in promoting high-tech start-up ecosystems
  • Contribution of industrial clusters in determining the interplay of key elements within the entrepreneurial ecosystems for high-tech start-ups (e.g., in attracting talent, technology, venture capital)
  • Technology strategy in high-tech emerging industries
  • Role of IP management to evolve dominant designs and micro-standards
  • Influence of entrepreneurial ecosystems on firm-level innovation 
  • Modes and degree of Internationalization and their impact on high-tech start-up competitiveness 
  • Differences in the trajectories to achieve competitive advantage among international new ventures, born-globals and local tech-based start-ups
  • Role of strategic orientation and strategic intent on the innovation capabilities and performance of start-ups and high-tech emerging industries 
  • Opportunities and challenges for start-ups to climb-up to next levels 
  • Network linkages of high-tech start-ups and its impact on competitiveness
  • New paradigms of entrepreneurship in post-COVID world

Indicative Dates

Submission of Full Papers:  15 May 2021 - 15 August 2021

Anticipated Date of Publication for accepted papers: December 2021

(Note: Manuscripts that do not have strong match with the theme of the SI may be considered for regular issues of the Journal depending on their performance in double blind review processes.)

Submission Details

Articles submitted to the journal should be original contributions, preferably based on empirical research, and should not be under consideration for any other publication at the same time. Considering the theme of the SI, we encourage multi-disciplinary, multi-country, co-author teams.

Authors submitting manuscripts should follow the submission guidelines of International Journal of Global Business and Competitiveness (JGBC) for preparing the manuscripts (link below). Main manuscript should be written concisely (less than 5000 words); supporting material including appendices should be uploaded in a supplementary file. All manuscripts will undergo double-blind review following the journal’s normal review process and criteria.

Guidelines for Submission:

Please direct any questions on the Special Issue to:

Guest Editor: Deepak Chandrashekar at

Editor-in-chief: Kirankumar S. Momaya at


Acs, Z. J., Stam, E., Audretsch, D. B., and O'Connor, A. (2017). The lineages of the entrepreneurial ecosystem approach. Small Business Economics, 49, 1–10.

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Arruda, C., Nogueria, V. S., and Costa, V (2013). The Brazilian Entrepreneurial Ecosystem of Start-ups: an analysis of entrepreneurship determinants in Brazil as seen from the OECD pillars, Girişimcilik ve İnovasyon Yönetimi Dergisi, 2(3), 17-57.

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Chandrashekar, D., and Bala Subrahmanya, M. H. (2017). Does Patent Activity Affect Firm-level Innovation and Firm Performance in a Cluster? An Evidence from Bengaluru High-tech Manufacturing Cluster. International Journal of Global Business and Competitiveness, 12(1), 13-24.

Chandrashekar, D., and Bala Subrahmanya, M. H. (2019). Determinants of firm’s propensity to patent its inventions. Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, 29(4), 375-400.

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