The Impact of Innovation Centres on Small Technology-Based Firms: The Example of the Federal Republic of Germany

Sternberg, Rolf
June 1990
Small Business Economics;Jun1990, Vol. 2 Issue 2, p105
Academic Journal
Small and mediumasized enterprises have not only in the Federal Republic of Germany been the source of several strategies of economic development and innovation policy for some time. The majority of these measures aims at revealing the potential strength of small and med iumesized enterprises in the innovation process by eliminating particular bottlenecks in the development and other problems of these enterprises which large enterprises do not have. Since 1983, the instrument of innovation centres for a specific promotion of a part of the small and medium-sized enterprises, namely, the new technology-based firms, has been applied also in the Federal Republic. This article investigates to what extent the meanwhile nearly 70 innovation centres could have a positive influence on the development of technology-based small firms. The empirical basis of the analysis consists of data collected in 31 innovation centres and 177 of the enterprises located there. The majority of the entrepreneurs indeed expect advantages over against alternative locations in the same region. The services offered by the centres meet with a lively demand from the tenants who, however, criticize the weaknesses, especially in the advisory services, generally attributable to the centres' managers. Concerning their influence on the enterprises, the innovation centres do not at all represent a homogenous group, but differ considerably with regard to personnel and infrastructure. However, this assessment can only be tentative, a definite assessment regarding the effectiveness of this instrument is not possible after only six years of existence in the ERA).


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