Title: Fostering entrepreneurship in academic spin-offs

Authors: Donato Iacobucci, Alessandro Iacopini, Alessandra Micozzi, Simone Orsini

Addresses: Department of Information Engineering, Management and Automation, Polytechnic University of Marche, Brecce Bianche, 60131, Ancona, Italy. ' Polytechnic University of Marche, Via Oberdan, 8, 60121, Ancona, Italy. ' Department of Information Engineering, Management and Automation, Polytechnic University of Marche, Brecce Bianche, 60131, Ancona, Italy. ' Department of Information Engineering, Management and Automation, Polytechnic University of Marche, Brecce Bianche, 60131, Ancona, Italy

Abstract: Academic spin-offs are new companies that evolve out from universities as a result of the process of technology transfer from research to commercialisation of new products or services. This paper analyses the experience of Italian spin-offs, from their first introduction in 1999, with specific regard to the following aspects: the early growth, the governance structure and the entrepreneurial orientation. The empirical analysis refers to a sample of 160 spin-offs set up between 2000 and 2005. Quantitative analysis is based on annual reports after two, four and six years from set up. Quantitative data are supplemented with qualitative information collected from direct interview with owners and managers of spin-offs. The paper highlights the difficulties of most spin-offs in transforming the initial idea in a sustainable business. This is the result, among other things, of the lack of entrepreneurial orientation by the researchers promoting and managing the spin-offs.

Keywords: academic spin-offs; business growth; business ownership; business control; universities; higher education; new companies; technology transfer; commercialisation; new services; R&D; research and development; new product development; NPD; Italy; early growth; governance structures; entrepreneurial orientation; quantitative data; qualitative information; managers; initial ideas; sustainable businesses; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; entrepreneurs; academic entrepreneurship.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2011.039689

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2011 Vol.12 No.4, pp.513 - 533

Published online: 14 Apr 2011 *

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