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Valérie François, Christophe Lafaye and Matthieu Belarouci

This chapter studies the role of internal and external social capital on growth from a contextual point of view. To this end, we analyse the perceived utility of support received from the relational network of 104 entrepreneurs from innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (‘organizational context’) during their first years of existence (‘temporal context) and that have benefited from public support from the French Nord-Pas-de-Calais region (‘institutional context’). We found that during the early years, the external social capital of young business ventures appears to be a decisive factor in its growth. This is not true, however, of internal social capital. Moreover, while belonging to a cluster impacts on growth, we observed no significant impact of clusters on the link between social capital relations and growth. Joining an incubator, on the other hand, had no impact on either growth or the relations studied.