Directions for the Sustainable Development and Competitiveness of Regions
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Börje Johansson and Roger R. Stough
Chapter 2: Entrepreneurship and innovation: Oxfordshire’s high-tech economy–firm survival, growth and innovation
High-tech economies are characterized by high levels of innovation-led entrepreneurship. Oxfordshire in the UK is one such example. In this chapter we focus on how high-tech regions develop by examining what happens to a cohort of firms in existence in Oxfordshire in the mid-1980s; in other words the interrelationship of how they and the region have changed. The context is the emergence of more general patterns of entrepreneurship and innovation, and the specifics of a region’s entrepreneurial environment (Feldman and Francis, 2006). An important strand of academic literature in the 1980s was concerned with technical change ‘as a fundamental force in shaping the patterns of transformation of the economy’ (Freeman, 1988, 2). Certain types of technical change, changes in techno-economic paradigm (technological revolutions) (Freeman and Perez, 1988) were found to have widespread consequences for all sectors of the economy. The fifth Kondratieff wave of innovation, the information and communication Kondratieff which Freeman and Perez dated to the 1980s, was made possible by microelectronics. Other sectors identified as growing rapidly from a small base included biotechnology products and processes, space activities and fine chemicals. New forms of cooperation between firms associated with this wave included networks of large and small firms.
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