New Roles for Key Players
Edited by Willem Molle and Julia Djarova
Chapter 2: Creating Wealth from University Know-How: The Role of Technostarters
* Hans Wissema INTRODUCTION As the growth of Western economies is based increasingly on knowledgebased enterprises, the role of universities as sources of new technologybased firms has recently gained much attention. Although the phenomenon of technostarters – students or academics who start their own, technologybased firm – dates from the early nineteenth century, the subject has gained wide attention since the beginning of the age of information technology that saw the rise of new multinationals such as Microsoft, Intel, Dell, Google, Skype and many others. The structure of this chapter is as follows. We first define the subject and its economic relevance. Next we describe several role models for universities that create technostarters. Third, we describe how universities can actively support technostarters. We round off the chapter with some conclusions. DEFINING THE SUBJECT Meet the Technostarters Technostarters are students or academics who establish their own scienceor technology-based firm. They are people who take initiative and who are willing to take responsibility and risk (e.g. Kuemmerle, 2002). They are optimistic, subscribing to the phrase attributed to Walt Disney: ‘This goes to prove that nothing is impossible if you just put your mind to it.’ They are walking learning-organisations, networkers who learn from others and from introspection, analysing their own progress. They have the instinct to spot combinations between technical possibilities and (latent) market 31 32 R&D Table 2.1 Reasons why people want to be self-employed 53% 52% 48% 43% 28% 19% 8% 6% I want to take responsibility for my own future I...
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