Academic and Surrogate Entrepreneurs in University Spin-Out Companies
Universities have two options when they formulate policies to develop new technology-based start-ups. One approach is to encourage faculty members to engage in this activity. Another avenue is to encourage surrogate (external) entrepreneurs to assume a leadership role. Based on a survey of technology transfer/business development officers at 57 U.K. universities, we examine perceptions regarding the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. We also analyze whether there are significant differences in these attitudes between universities that have launched many startups and those that have been less active in this arena. Our results imply that the most significant barriers to the adoption of entrepreneurial-friendly policies are cultural and informational. We also find that universities that generate the most start-ups have more favorable attitudes towards surrogate entrepreneurs. It appears that a combination of academic and surrogate entrepreneurship might be the best approach for universities that wish to develop successful technology-transfer based start-up companies. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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