Handbook on the Geographies of Innovation
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Handbook on the Geographies of Innovation

Edited by Richard Shearmu, Christophe Carrincazeaux and David Doloreux

The geography of innovation is changing. First, it is increasingly understood that innovative firms and organizations exhibit a wide variety of strategies, each being differently attuned to diverse geographic contexts. Second, and concomitantly, the idea that cities, clusters and physical proximity are essential for innovation is evolving under the weight of new theorizing and empirical evidence. In this Handbook we gather 28 chapters by scholars with widely differing views on what constitutes the geography of innovation. The aim of the Handbook is to break with the many ideas and concepts that emerged during the course of the 1980s and 1990s, and to fully take into account the new reality of the internet, mobile communication technologies, personal mobility and globalization. This does not entail the rejection of well-established and supported ideas, but instead allows for a series of new ideas and authors to enter the arena and provoke debate.
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Chapter 20: Entrepreneurial regions in theory and policy practice

Helen Lawton Smith

Abstract

The entrepreneurship and economic development agenda is one that is both academic and political. Places grow because they generate new firms. Underpinning the idea of entrepreneurship-led growth is the supposition that entrepreneurship can be stimulated at the regional level by policy intervention. A dilemma for policy makers, however, is the persistence of entrepreneurial regions independently of politics. To address this problem, the European Union has introduced the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) project. The EER ‘is a project that identifies and rewards EU regions which show an outstanding and innovative entrepreneurial policy strategy, irrespective of their size, wealth and competences. The regions with the most credible, forward-thinking and promising vision plan are granted the label “European Entrepreneurial Region” (EER) for a specific year.’ However, in the face of more firms, more jobs, wealth creation and lowering unemployment, there is still a lack of clear evidence of the impact of enterprise policies. The chapter considers how regions become entrepreneurial and which organizations are dominant in shaping visions and coordinating entrepreneurial activity. The high-tech entrepreneurial regions of Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire in the UK are used to illustrate, even in apparently similar regions, the distinctive differences in how the entrepreneurial region concept is developed and enacted at the local level.

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