The Geography of Academic Entrepreneurship: Spin-offs, Firm Growth and Regional Impact

Helen Lawton Smith

University spin-offs are those firms formed by either university employed academics or increasingly by university students.  Their presence in the academic literature dates back to at least the 1970s. Since the 1980s because of the link between university research and wealth creation, they have been subject to ongoing political intervention, beginning in the US.

This book builds on previous studies and on changing government agenda both to explore the relationship between the formation and growth process of university spin-offs and to study their links with regional development.

Place is the unifying theme of the book. It is not only the location of where a firm starts, it is also where other possible cooperating and support organisations and activity are located, and its home university is usually in close proximity, at least at first. The book explores the conditions under which the region can influence the spin-off process involving the academic or student, the firm itself, and the university. 

Key features of the book are the positioning of the academic spin-off process within different geographical contexts,  its focus on methodology including highlighting the diverse range of concepts and associated methodologies that have been utilised to explain spin-off processes, and extensive evidence from around the world.