The Regional Impacts of University Spin-Offs: In What Ways Do Spin-Offs Contribute to the Region?
Forthcoming, Handbook on Universities and Regional Development, Edward Elgar Publishing
17 Pages Posted: 3 May 2018
Date Written: April 16, 2018
The creation of university spin-off firms is seen as an important mechanism for generating economic and societal impacts from universities and for the transfer of university knowledge into application in society. Spin-offs tend to be localized near their parent university, and therefore may be particularly important for generating regional contributions from universities. However, the importance of spin-offs for regional development is debated and there seems to be no universal recipe for how to facilitate their regional impacts. This Chapter provides a conceptual discussion of research-based evidence on how university spin-offs may lead to regional impacts. Several levels of analysis and both direct and indirect impacts are considered. It is very rare that university spin-offs by themselves grow into firms with significant regional impacts. Rather, the impacts of university spin-offs appears to be more subtle, by indirectly contributing to the development of businesses and society at the regional level. Hence, instead of asking ‘how substantial is the impact of university spin-offs?’, the Chapter concludes that it would be more relevant to ask ‘in what way do spin-offs contribute to regional stakeholders such as their parent university, regional businesses and industry, as well as the society more generally’. The Chapter points at a number of research opportunities and discusses how policy can harness the regional impacts of spin-offs.
Keywords: University spin-offs, Regional impact, Academic entrepreneurship, Innovative start-ups
JEL Classification: O30, M13, O31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation