Global Experience in Policy and Program Development
Edited by Sarfraz A. Mian
Chapter 4: Promoting Science and Technology Based Entrepreneurship through Regional Innovation Networks: The German Experience
Holger Patzelt and Heinz Klandt INTRODUCTION Today entrepreneurship and innovation are well established topics in the toolbox of politicians because they are considered key factors for national competitiveness, employment and growth (Audretsch and Thurik, 1999; Audretsch et al., 2006). In fact the mind set of German politicians in respect to these topics has changed dramatically in the last decades and today there is a broad consensus on and a sensitivity to the problem of technology transfer from research institutions such as universities or the Max Planck and Fraunhofer societies (networks of public research institutes in Germany) to the business world in nearly all political parties. Against this background, politicians demand more and more innovative startups, especially from the academic world. Unfortunately, economics does not give us a clear answer to the question: what would be the optimum for a national economy in terms of the right age mixture (startups versus established firms) and the right percentage of innovative technology based companies in traditional or new industries? Nevertheless, in Germany there are several newly established public support programs for stimulating startups, especially the technology based firms in new industries like life science or mobile communication. This chapter proceeds as follows. First, we provide an overview of the evolution of the German National Innovation System after World War II. We then introduce three case studies of German policy programs targeted to promote science and technology based entrepreneurial activities. Finally, we draw conclusions and elaborate on future perspectives of the German innovation and...
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