Knowledge flows in high-impact firms: How does relatedness influence survival, acquisition and exit?

Following the impact on regional renewal and employment ascribed to rapidly growing firms (High impact firms, HIFs) this article argues that little is still known in economic geography and business studies today regarding the mechanisms influencing growth of such firms and, hence, the potential impact on regional employment. The aim of this article is thus to explore how the qualitative content of skills (i.e. the degree of similarity, relatedness and un-relatedness) recruited to a firm during a period of fast growth, which influences its future success. Our findings, based on a sample of 1589 HIFs in the Swedish economy, suggest that it is not only the number of people employed that matters to aid understanding of the future destiny of the firms—but also, more importantly, it is the scope of the skills recruited and their proximity to related industries.