The role of innovation hub networks in startup internationalisation

Exploring how innovation hubs can help start-ups expand overseas

This research project will determine how partnerships between innovation hubs around the world can be leveraged to help start-up members overcome challenges in conducting business overseas. Researchers will map how hub networks could be used to access foreign clients, collaborators or investors.

A case study will be conducted of a Perth-based hub specialising in the resources sector innovation and its recently established partnerships with similar hubs in San Francisco, Houston and Santiago, as well as potential future sites in Canada.

The study seeks to understand how members interact within these hub networks and the influence of hub activities and partnerships on start-up strategy. A cross-case comparison will then contrast this network with a more centralised multi-hub European innovation network to gain a deeper understanding of the effectiveness of practices.

In better understanding the role of hubs in start-up internationalisation, we are able to implement more effective initiatives to support start-up growth and facilitate collaboration with other organisations.

The value of this research is recognised by hub managers and sponsors who have incorporated preliminary results into their reporting and design of future activities. The research scope and timing will position it as one of the first independent analyses of a much-publicised government innovation policy in a key industry.

If you have a start-up that is expanding overseas (or hoping to soon) or work in the resources sector and are interested in supporting innovation, we would love to hear from you. If you have time for a short interview, contact us using the details below and we’ll be in touch. This project is partly funded by a 2018 BHP Billiton Distinguished Research Award.


Summarise internationalisation challenges for innovative start-ups within the mining/oil and gas sector context.

Understand the role of innovation hubs in facilitating foreign start-ups access to local ecosystems.

Identify strategies which enable hubs to partner across regions to leverage capabilities and local knowledge

Contribute to our research direction

Project researchers are collaborating with CORE Innovation Hub in fostering relationships between start-ups and other companies in the resources sector. CORE has a unique model, in terms of industry context and mix of members, presenting a novel setting to understand industrial innovation.

Other contributors to this project include Dr Chiara Luisa Cantù, Associate Professor of Marketing at Universita Catolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy and Dr Bella Butler, Senior Lecturer at the School of Management at Perth’s Curtin University.


Find out more
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Contact UWA Project Lead Daniel Schepis