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Anchor entrepreneurship and industry catalysis: The rise of the Italian Biomedical Valley

Ferriani, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-9669-3486, Lazerson, M. H. & Lorenzoni, G. (2020). Anchor entrepreneurship and industry catalysis: The rise of the Italian Biomedical Valley. Research Policy, 49(8), article number 104045. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2020.104045


Accounting for the rise of the medical device industry in the Emilia-Romagna town of Mirandola from a once depressed agricultural area in 1962 to a world-manufacturing center for dialysis equipment and disposable plastic medical devices, requires in large measure mapping the methods of the local entrepreneur who spearheaded its development. Reworking Agrawal and Cockburn's anchor-tenant hypothesis highlighting the role of large organizations in fostering agglomerations, this paper privileges the Schumpeterian entrepreneur as the dynamic force driving new industrial formations. This anchor-entrepreneur with no prior experience in manufacturing medical devices and without any public financing or large private backers founded six firms. Each of these would be sold off fairly quickly to a different large multinational corporation. Placing the anchor-entrepreneur at the center stage advances understanding of early industry evolution, spelling out how first-mover pioneers shape the environment to establish the first markets needed to attract new resources and capabilities. Underpinning our argument are 61 fine-grain interviews with key medical device industry informants in addition to extensive secondary sources and historical records. We draw on this material to induce a stylized model of anchor-entrepreneurship and industry catalysis that rests on three generative processes: bricolage, second-hand imprinting and beaconing.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license.
Publisher Keywords: Anchor-entrepreneur, Entrepreneurial genealogy, Imprinting, Bricolage, Industry emergence
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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