How Effective are Technology Incubators? Evidence from Italy
Massimo G. Colombo
Politecnico di Milano
Italian Communications Authority
Research Policy, Vol. 31, No. 7, 2002
In spite of the diffusion of science parks in Europe, it is still unclear whether they have been successful in fostering the establishment and growth of new technology-based firms (NTBFs). This paper aims to contribute to answer such question. For this purpose, a sample composed of 45 Italian NTBFs which at the beginning of 2000 were located on technology incubator within a park is compared with a control sample of off-incubator firms. Aspects considered in the study include the personal characteristics of founders of NTBFs, the motivations of the self-employment choice, the growth and innovative performances of firms, propensity towards networking, and access to public subsidies. In the comparison, we use a larger set of indicators than in previous studies. The empirical results confirm the conventional wisdom that input and output measures of innovative activity are only marginally different between on- and off-incubator firms. Nonetheless, they also show that Italian parks managed to attract entrepreneurs with better human capital, as measured by educational attainments and prior working experience. In addition, on-incubator firms show higher growth rates than their off-incubator counterparts. They also perform better in terms of adoption of advanced technologies, aptitude to participating in international R&D programs, and establishment of collaborative arrangements, especially with universities. Lastly, they find it easier to get access to public subsidies. Altogether, such findings support the view that science parks are an important element of a technology policy in favor of NTBFs. This holds true especially in a country like Italy which is characterized by a rather weak national innovation system.
Keywords: NTBFs, Science parks, University industry relations
JEL Classification: J23, L86, L63Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 1, 2009
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo1 in 0.343 seconds