Strategic alliances are commonplace in most industries today, both formal and informal in nature. By sharing resources, cooperating firms will benefit, as long as each respects the terms of the agreement. This cooperation amongst competitors is traditionally examined by looking at the industry leaders – larger firms (c.f. Brandenburger and Nalebuff, 1996), but what about in small businesses facing liabilities of newness? Small, fledgling entrepreneurial firms often engage in bricolage during the start-up phase. Nascent firms also engage in co-opetition, characterized by informal cooperative agreements, with more to lose than large firms due to the lack of formal enforcement mechanisms.

This paper examines how firms built through bricolage, also rely on co-opetition as they grow. We research bricolage and co-opetition in young entrepreneurial firms, and propose that bricolage is an effective antecedent for co-opetition, forming a network that, while competing, also support each other through cooperative behaviors. This paper contributes to the body of literature by extending both the bricolage and co-opetition literature streams, while also proposing a new linkage between these constructs through qualitative research findings.