Knowledge-Intensive Entrepreneurship in Low-Tech Industries

Knowledge-Intensive Entrepreneurship in Low-Tech Industries

Edited by Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen and Isabel Schwinge

This book contributes to the discussion about the relevance of knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship for industrial innovation in the context of traditional low-technology industries.

Chapter 1: Introduction: knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship in low-tech industries

Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen and Isabel Schwinge

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of entrepreneurship, economics of innovation, industrial economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


The ongoing discussion over knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship (KIE) underscores its relevance to future economic growth and societal well-being (Audretsch et al., 2002; Malerba, 2010; Malerba and McKelvey, 2010). Moreover, this term is narrowly linked to the discourse on the emerging 'knowledge economy' and the debate on entrepreneurial activities. Heretofore research on KIE has mainly focused on firms or start-ups in the new technology-based high-tech sector. Altogether KIE is a vital mechanism for economic renewal, giving rise to new industries but also driving renewal within existing industries. The latter function of industrial revitalization, in particular, makes KIE an important phenomenon for the mature low-tech sector. The overall objective of this volume is to introduce the discussion over KIE into the context of low-tech industries. The authors contributing to this book address diverse aspects-from characteristics and impacts (Part I), to specific strategies (Part II), all the way to political and policy preconditions (Part III) for KIE in this specific industrial context. Thereby different foci and approaches are applied to the KIE phenomenon that can be subsumed best by Malerba's (2010: 5) broad perspective on KIE as 'new innovators in a technology or sector that can be either de novo entrants or established firms active in a process of technological diversification'. Initially a more detailed definition of KIE is outlined by its main features (Section 2).