The heart of my research is to understand more effectively what business practices drive success in technology firms and what people-related issues drive success. One of the things I was really quickly aware of was that there was huge emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math training). But business is a process that involves people and it’s a social process. Training in STEM doesn’t really build those skills.
This is a startup community. What we decided to look at was the firms that have moved beyond startup; they know how to stay up and now they are trying to scale up.
Something interesting to me was that we could distinguish between what was critical for younger firms and older firms. The issue for the younger firms is how they invest and what they invest in sales and in marketing. It shifts a little bit for the older firms. If they want to go international, it’s about focusing on key customers.
I recently shared some preliminary findings with research colleagues and I already have colleagues in Germany and the U.S asking to be part of this. I’m not the only one, as it turns out, who sees that there is a need to understand the partnership between STEM and business to move tech firms forward.
Nicole Coviello is a professor of marketing, research director of the Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises, and the 2016/17 University Research Professor.
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