Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by David Smallbone, Hans Landström and Dylan Jones-Evans
Chapter 10: The Creation of Higher Education Institutions and Firm Entry: A Policy Evaluation
Joana Mendonça, Rui Baptista and Francisco Lima INTRODUCTION Various studies have examined the role played by universities in promoting entrepreneurship in nearby regions. Results obtained by Audretsch et al. (2005) suggest that, in general, new knowledge-based firms have a high propensity to locate close to universities. In addition, academic research and development expenditure has been found to be significantly associated with rates of new firm formation across regions (Lee et al., 2004). There is also strong evidence from the United States of a growth effect of clusters influenced by research-active universities (Feldman, 2000). In a modern economy, universities are generators of a steady flow of novel technical ideas, and the system of public research and higher education is largely responsible for the capability in modern technologies (Mazzoneli and Nelson, 2007). In addition to their traditional role as sources of ideas, knowledge and intellectual capital, universities have become agents of innovations through the development and commercialization of new ideas generated by academic research and development (R&D). Entrepreneurial universities enhance regional development and international competitiveness and their role is especially important in structurally weak and peripheral regions, where universities tend to have a monopoly over the production of intellectual capital. The local presence of universities can generate positive externalities through both the performance of knowledge-generating R&D activities and the education of specialized human capital, capable of absorbing such knowledge. Firms can cultivate relationships with universities, participating in research consortia and partnering with academics who do related scientific work (Audretsch...
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