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Between vision and reality: promoting innovation through technoparks in Kazakhstan

Slavo Radosevic () and Marat Myrzakhmet ()

No 66, UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series from UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Abstract: A common motivation for the technopark movement is the belief that technoparks promote innovation and economic growth at regional and/or national levels. The paper analyses the role of technoparks as instruments of innovation promotion in Kazakhstan using data from a firm survey and interviews. Our results suggest that, unlike what is assumed in the innovation policy literature, technoparks do not house firms dealing with the commercialisation of innovations that are ready for introduction to the market. Technopark firms are no more innovative than other firms. They are oriented largely towards the local market, and operate in traditional sectors; the frequency and intensity of their external links are more developed than are their internal links. The key motivations for relocating to a technopark seem to be lower rents and the possibility of accessing finance. Overall, Kazakh technoparks seem to be successful in terms of facilitating business incubation, but much les so in terms of innovation promotion and diversification of the economy. Currently, Kazakh industry does not make any demands for local R&D, and its sources of competitiveness lie in non-R&D activities. This suggests that innovation policy should focus on assisting companies to upgrade their technological capabilities to the level that they can articulate their R&D demands. Focusing on technoparks as the main mechanism to improve competitiveness and diversify the economy is an ineffective and uncertain a policy option at this stage of the country's economic development. However, there seems to be significant scope for supporting business incubation. These conclusions are of relevance to other emerging economies.

Pages: 23 pages
Date: 2006-08
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Published in Technovation , 29 (10) 645 - 656. 10.1016/j.technovation.2009.04.001.

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