Ratio Working Paper No. 230: University Knowledge Spillovers & Regional Start-up Rates

PublikationWorking paper
Företagandets villkor, Forskning, Karin Hellerstedt, Karl Wennberg, Lars Frederiksen, Spillovers, Start-ups, Universitet
Ratio Working Paper No. 230
Ladda ner


This paper investigates regional start-up rates in the knowledge intensive services and high-tech industries. Integrating insights from economic geography and population ecology into the literature on entrepreneurship, we develop a theoretical framework which captures how both supply- and demand-side factors mold the regional bedrock for start-ups in knowledge intensive industries. Using multi-level data of all knowledge intensive start-ups across 286 Swedish municipalities between 1994 and 2002 we demonstrate how characteristics of the economic and political milieu within each region influence the ratio of firm births. We find that economically affluent regions dominate entrepreneurial activity in terms of firm births, yet a number of much smaller rural regions also revealed high levels of start-ups. Knowledge spillovers from universities and firm R&D strongly affect the start-up rates for both knowledge intensive manufacturing and knowledge intensive services firms. However, the start-up rate of knowledge-intensive service firms is tied more strongly to the supply of highly educated individuals and the political regulatory regime within the municipality. This suggests that knowledge intensive service-start-ups are more susceptible to both demand-side and supply-side context than manufacturing start-ups. Our study contributes to the growing stream of research that explains entrepreneurial activity as shaped by contextual factors, most notably educational institutions that contribute to technology startups.

Related content: University Knowledge Spillovers & regional start-up rates

Hellerstedt, K., Wennberg, K. & Frederiksen, L. (2014). University Knowledge Spillovers & Regional Start-up Rates: Supply and Demand Side Factors. Ratio Working Paper No. 230.

Liknande innehåll

Government-sponsored entrepreneurship education: Is less more?
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Sjöö, K., Elert, N. & Wennberg, K.



Entrepreneurship research suggests that entrepreneurship education and training can bridge the gender gap in entrepreneurship, but little empirical research exists assessing the validity and impact of such initiatives. We examine a large government-sponsored entrepreneurship education program aimed at university students in Sweden. While a pre-study indicates that longer university courses are associated with short-term outcomes such as increased self-efficacy and entrepreneurial intentions, results from a more comprehensive study using a pre-post design suggest little effect from these extensive courses on long-term outcomes such as new venture creation and entrepreneurial income. In contrast, we do find positive effects on these long-term outcomes from more limited but more specific training interventions, especially for women. Our study suggests that less extensive but more tailored interventions can be more beneficial than longer or more extensive interventions in promoting entrepreneurship in general, and entrepreneurship of underrepresented groups in particular. We discuss implications for theory, education, and policy.

Incubator specialisation and size: divergent paths towards operational scale
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Klofsten, M., Lundmark, E., Wennberg, K. & Banks, N.



Research on incubators show that size is important in achieving efficiency and networking benefits for clients. However, little research has focused on what factors influence incubator size. We theorize and show partial support for size benefits to incubator specialization. Analyses of the relationship between size and four distinct specialization strategies in a sample of 96 European incubators show that incubator size is positively related to a strategic focus on universities and research institutes as recruitment channels and to a focus on sustainability, but unrelated to industry focus. Incubator size was found to be negatively related to a regional focus. While sustainability focused incubators tended to not find recruitment challenging, paradoxically, among those who did, the most frequently reported challenges were related to finding tenants that focus on sustainability. Post-hoc analyses revealed that tenants with a focus other than sustainability often dominate sustainability-oriented incubators, suggesting that sustainability may be more of a legitimating strategy than an explicit selection criterion.

Interactions between university spin-offs and academia: A dynamic perspective
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Laage-Hellman, J., Lind, F., Öberg, C. & Shih, T.



This paper aims to investigate the nature and dynamics of the interaction between university spin-offs (USOs) and academia.

The theoretical framework is grounded in an interactive view based on the industrial marketing and purchasing literature on USOs and their development. The concepts of activity links, resource ties and actor bonds are used as a starting point for capturing the content and dynamics of the interaction. The empirical part of the paper consists of four case studies captured through interviews as the main data source and analysed to conclude how the interaction between the USO and academia developed over time.

The study identifies a multi-faceted and dynamic content of the interaction. The paper discerns and discusses research and development links, knowledge and equipment ties and social, legal, financial and organizational bonds with inventors, other academic partners and innovation support organizations. The dynamics are manifested both through changes within individual relationships and by adding/ending relationships. One main conclusion regards the existence of wave-like patterns of interaction with academic partners driven by the USOs’ needs and the establishment of customer relationships.

Most of the previous research has described a linear process in which the USO leaves academia once the idea has been transferred to a company. This paper contrasts this view by developing and using an analytical framework to capture the dynamic and continuous interaction between USO and academia.

Visa fler

Ratio är ett fristående forskningsinstitut som forskar om hur företagandets villkor kan utvecklas och förbättras.

Sveavägen 59 4trp

Box 3203

103 64 Stockholm

Postgiro: 382621-1


Bankgiro: 512-6578