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Edited by Elizabeth Chell and Mine Karataş-Özkan
Chapter 17: Entrepreneurial innovation in science-based firms: the need for an ecosystem perspective
Influenced by Schumpeterian logic, policy makers and academics have long been intrigued and inspired by the promise of entrepreneurship as a source of economic regeneration. In recent years, there has been increasing focus on small businesses and entrepreneurship for job creation. Within the field of entrepreneurship, science-based entrepreneurship has been noted by academics and policy makers as particularly important, as the introduction of new innovations, such as materials, devices or biotech discoveries, often has a knock-on effect within the economy, requiring new value chains, infrastructure and complements, and thus providing new jobs and new opportunities (Pavitt et al., 1989). In the UK, entrepreneurship has been increasingly viewed as a way to capitalise on the UK's strengths in scientific knowledge creation and gain leadership in new and emerging markets (The Royal Society, 2010). In particular, university spin-out (USO) companies have been cast in a key role in the UK's shift from workshop-of-the-world to knowledge-based economy. With lofty hopes pinned on a relatively small group of fledgling companies, a greater understanding of science-based entrepreneurship is needed. In this chapter, we present an overview of the current state of knowledge regarding innovation by science-based ventures, with a focus on commercialising technologies stemming from universities. Key findings, core concepts and possible avenues for future research are identified. While our concern is with science-based spin-out firms in the UK, these firms are a subset of new technology-based firms (NTBF) in general, which are again a subset of entrepreneurship and small businesses.
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