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Is there a local innovation policy to support academic start-up activities? an exploratory case study of Heidelberg

Mark O. Sellenthin

Brussels Economic Review, 2006, vol. 49, issue 4, 293-310

Abstract: It is increasingly acknowledged that innovation is a systemic phenomenon where the interaction in a regional system of innovation is important. This is particularly true for the establishment of new enterprises. The autonomy of the regions and the resulting regional policy focus is accentuated in Germany. However, the availability of public funds for the early phases of firm establishment and development is very limited. A new means of the local and regional governments to support entrepreneurship with rather small public funds is the interactive economic policy approach. In this approach, the local or regional government acts as mediator to facilitate cooperation between different stakeholders in order to overcome coordination problems. The purpose of this paper is to assess entrepreneurship support in Heidelberg and to investigate whether it follows an interactive economic policy approach. Heidelberg is embedded in a high-technology region in Germany with a large number of public and private research institutes in the field of medicine and biotechnology. Interviews were conducted with stakeholders from the university, regional and local policy makers and start-up companies. Special emphasis is on the type of support that the start-ups received.

Keywords: Regional innovation policy; start-ups; innovation networks; interactive economic policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L26 O38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006
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