International entrepreneurial startups' location under uncertainty through a heterogeneous multi-layer decision-making approach: evidence and application of an emerging economy

Publication Name

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research


Purpose: Science and technology parks (STPs) have a limited capacity, which can create challenging conditions for applicants. This makes the location selection a multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) problem to find and apply for the most appropriate STP with the highest accordance with the startup's requirements. This research aims to select the most appropriate STP to locate an international entrepreneurial pharmaceutical startup under uncertainty. Since drugs are generally produced domestically in developing countries such as Iran, the access of pharmaceutical startups to the resources provided by STPs can lead to overcoming competitors and improving the country's health system. Design/methodology/approach: In this research, the factors or attributes effective on startup location were extracted through a two-round Delphi method, which was performed among 15 experts within three groups. Subsequently, the determining factors were used to select the location of a pharmaceutical startup among possible STPs. In this regard, decision-makers were allowed to use different types of numbers to transfer their opinion. Afterward, the heterogeneous weighted aggregated sum product assessment (HWASPAS) method was applied to calculate the score of each alternative and rank them to place the studied startup successfully. Findings: The results indicated that Tehran STP stands in the first place; however, if the decision was made based on single criterion like cost, some other STPs could be preferable, and many managers would lose this choice. Furthermore, the results of the proposed method were close to other popular heterogeneous MCDM approaches. Originality/value: A heterogeneous WASPAS is developed in this article for the first time to enable international entrepreneurs to imply their opinion with various values and linguistic variables to reduce the emphasis on accurate data in an uncertain environment.

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