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The effectiveness of university knowledge spillovers: Performance differences between university spin-offs and corporate spin-offs

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Entreprenörskap, Företagandets villkor, Johan Wiklund, Karl Wennberg, Mike Wright, Universitet

Abstract

While much prior research has focused upon how the Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) and other contextual characteristics shape the level of university spinoffs (USO), there is little research on entrepreneurial potential among individual academics, and to the best of our knowledge, no comparative studies with other types of spinoffs exist to date. In this paper we focus on an important but neglected aspect of knowledge transfer from academic research involving the indirect flow to entrepreneurship by individuals with a university education background who become involved in new venture creation by means of corporate spinoffs (CSO) after gaining industrial experience, rather than leaving university employment to found a new venture as an academic spinoff. We argue that the commercial knowledge gained by industry experience is potentially more valuable for entrepreneurial performance compared to the academic knowledge gained by additional research experience at a university. This leads us to posit that the average performance of CSOs will be higher than comparable USOs, but the gains from founder‘s prior experiences will be relatively higher among USOs whose founders lack the corporate context. We investigate these propositions in a comparative study tracking the complete population of USOs and CSOs among the Swedish knowledge-intensive sectors between 1994 and 2002.

Wennberg, K., Wiklund, J. & Wright, M. (2011). The effectiveness of university knowledge spillovers: Performance differences between university spin-offs and corporate spin-offs. Research Policy, 40(8): 1128-1143.


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