Business model innovation in start-ups: an exploratory case study of why and how business models are changed

Edwards, Blaine (2024) Business model innovation in start-ups: an exploratory case study of why and how business models are changed. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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It has been long understood that start-ups change their business models. However, research on creating a business model, called business model development, and the change of business model, called business model innovation, has primarily focused on established firms. There is a lack of empirical evidence of why and how start-ups change their business model, and it is unclear to what extent existing literature on established firms can be applied to start-ups. The research question of this thesis is “Why and how do start-ups change their business models?”. This thesis provides a unique contribution to the study of business model innovation by providing an exploratory case study of six versions of a start-up’s business model canvas. While considering the impact of human capital investments and outcomes, it is shown that a) business models are changed because founders believe that the business model is not, or cannot be, profitable, OR that there is a more profitable and scalable option within reach, and b) business models are changed by discovering new markets or customer use cases and then arranging the resources, capabilities, network allies, and operations necessary to achieve the desired impact.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 16342
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 76-82)
Keywords: business model development, business model innovation, human capital, start-ups
Department(s): Business Administration, Faculty of > Business Administration
Date: February 2024
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: New business enterprises; Human capital; Entrepreneurship; Business planning

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