Edited by David B. Audretsch, Isabel Grilo and A. Roy Thurik
Chapter 9: Government Programs to Encourage Innovation by Start-ups and SMEs: The Role of US Innovation Awards
Charles W. Wessner1 Policy makers in the United States recognize that innovation remains the key to international competitiveness in the twenty-ﬁrst century. Moreover, policy makers increasingly recognize that equity-ﬁnanced small ﬁrms are an eﬀective means of capitalizing on new ideas and bringing them to the market. Small ﬁrms, however, face a variety of obstacles as they seek to bring new products and processes to the market.2 In this context, public policies that reduce the structural and ﬁnancial hurdles facing such innovative small ﬁrms can play a useful role in enhancing a nation’s innovative capacity. In the United States, innovation awards, such as the Small Business Innovation Research program and the Advanced Technology Program, have proven eﬀective in helping small innovative ﬁrms overcome these hurdles while also enhancing networking among US universities, large ﬁrms, and small innovative companies. Success in innovation has helped the United States become the world’s leading economy. Remaining innovative requires, as Dr Mary Good notes, ‘a strategy that provides resources to talented people in an atmosphere that promotes creativity – focused on outcomes ranging from new products to customer satisfaction to new scientiﬁc insights to improved social programs – to create wealth and/or improve the human condition’.3 In this information age, continuing economic leadership requires new strategies that adapt to the new realities of globalized research, development and manufacturing. US assets and challenges in innovation Competitive advantages enjoyed by the United States include a large and integrated domestic market, and an economic and institutional...
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