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Academic Spin-Offs and Technology Transfer in Europe

Academic Spin-Offs and Technology Transfer in Europe

Best Practices and Breakthrough Models

Edited by Sven H. De Cleyn and Gunter Festel

While the US has traditionally been successful in commercialising new technologies, Europe is confronted with an increasing dependency for fast developing technologies like biotechnology or ICT, despite having some of the best universities in the world. This book will explore the key attributes of commercialising academic knowledge, focusing on spin-offs. Bringing together the visions and best practices used by leading academics and professionals across Europe, the editors provide new and practical insights on the topic in an attempt to resolve the European paradox.

Chapter 5: Supporting new spin-off ventures – experiences from a university start-up program

Magnus Klofsten and Erik Lundmark

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, knowledge management, innovation and technology, innovation policy, knowledge management, technology and ict


In the entrepreneurial society (Audretsch, 2009a, 2009b), universities have two important tasks: first to generate new knowledge and then to facilitate its practical application. To create and disseminate knowledge is by no means a new objective for universities. Two things have changed however – there is higher demand on the practical relevance of university research, and the effective implementation of new knowledge is no longer seen as the sole responsibility of government and large corporations. Rather, it is new, often small, knowledge-intensive companies that are seen as important actors in putting new knowledge into practice (Audretsch, 2009a, 2009b; Lundmark, 2010). Universities are increasingly expected to encourage and facilitate such organizations through spin-offs and incubator activities. Some claim that the universities themselves should be entrepreneurial (Clark, 1998). The entrepreneurial university as a concept is wide and includes many aspects (Gibb and Hannon, 2006; European Commission and OECD, 2013), such as partnerships between universities, businesses and the public sector (Etzkowitz and Klofsten, 2005; Brulin et al., 2012), focus on the application of research (Etzkowitz, 2001) and support for entrepreneurship among employees and students (Etzkowitz, 2004). This chapter deals with the latter, more specifically, how universities can facilitate the creation of new knowledge-intensive firms and new business areas within established organizations through practice-oriented entrepreneurship programs. The chapter describes how the Entrepreneurship and New Business Program (ENP), which started at Linköping University in 1994, has evolved and spread to other parts of Sweden and Europe. The model underlying the program was developed at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at Linköping University and the business network, Business Development in Linköping (SMIL).1 Over the years, the ENP has attracted more than 1,500 participants and generated around 500 new businesses. The case illustrates how entrepreneurship training at universities with relatively simple measures can stimulate entrepreneurial action and learning.

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