The international marketing strategies of UK small and medium sized biotechnology enterprises (SMBEs)
Considering the importance of international activities for the small and medium-sized firms in the modern economy, the present research project tries to identify the degree in internationalisation and the main international marketing strategies used by the small and medium-sized biotechnology enterprises (SMBEs). The biotechnology sector cannot be considered as a homogenous industry, but rather as a series of different industrial applications centred around the specific use of biological organisms in producing and improving existent products and processes. Biotechnology is also a high technology sector, with complex and unpredictable changes in innovation financing and commercialisation. The specific characteristics of biotechnology products and markets increase the importance of international activities for the SMBEs. This research project investigates three main issues related to the process of globalisation: 1. What is the degree of globalisation of the UK SMBEs? 2. What are the international marketing strategies used by the UK SMBEs? 3. What are the role of the manager and the board of directors in the internationalisation process of the UK SMBEs? A number of research hypothesis related with these objectives were formulated. Using a large European base in order to identify the degree of SMBE's globalisation, the study concentrates later on UK firms alone. The reason for this choice is the high level of development of the UK biotechnology sector. In order to build a comprehensive model of the international marketing strategies used by the UK SMBEs, the degree of globalisation of the European SMBEs, the organisational and functional profile of these firms, as well as the main global regions in which they initiated and developed international operations has been initially investigated in the fist place. In the second stage, the main international marketing strategies used by the UK SMBEs have been identified. 7 Case studies of globalised and fully internationalised UK SMBEs, identified in the first stage, have been developed and are presented in the Part III of the thesis. The main elements that influence the design, implementation and control of international strategies were identified and analysed in order to build a complete picture of the strategic operational processes in biotechnology. The role of the management in the internationalisation process and the use of Internet technology to expand business activities were investigated and discussed in relation to their capacity in increasing the international competitiveness of biotech companies. The positive results obtained in this study as well as the interest and support shown by the industry, provide a good basis for the further development of research into biotechnology business. The novelty of biotechnology products and applications and the high dynamism of the market environment create the need for a permanent flow of information among industrialists, government representatives and academic. This can only help to increase the understanding of this sector, and to improve the competitiveness of UK Biotechnology worldwide.