Applying the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Industrial Path Development Concepts to Regional Policy Analysis – a Critique

Authors: Helen Lawton Smith*, Birkbeck University of London, Jonathan Potter, OECD
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: entrepreneurial ecosystems, industrial path development, regional policy analysis, entrepreneurship
Session Type: Paper
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A common concern of regional innovation policy researchers is to produce analysis that can both influence regional policy development and that uses empirical analysis built on academic theory. This paper discusses an attempt to develop policy advice on how to promote innovative entrepreneurship and industrial transition at regional level based on a combination of two theoretical frameworks – the entrepreneurial ecosystems framework set out in Stam (2015), and the industry path transition framework set out in Grillitsch, Asheim and Trippl (2018). The OECD selected these theoretical frameworks to identify the issues to assess in regional case study analyses aimed at advising policy makers on how to promote regional entrepreneurship and transition to higher productivity and growth-oriented industries. To date, the frameworks have been applied in six regions in three countries. The entrepreneurial ecosystems framework identifies ten ecosystem dimensions that affect innovative start-ups and scale-ups, covering systemic conditions and framework conditions. A set of indicators can be developed to quantitatively measure each dimension in comparison with other regions and the dimensions can form the basis of detailed stakeholder discussion. The industrial path development framework identifies seven types of regional industrial path development, based around path upgrading, diversification or emergence, and four types of regional pre-conditions that affect the appropriateness of different paths in different regional circumstances. The paper systematically applies the frameworks in six regions, showing which entrepreneurial ecosystem dimensions and regional industrial path development opportunities are the most needing of policy intervention.

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