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The Role of Local Universities in Improving Traditional SMEs Innovative Performances: The Veneto Region Case




This paper applies a regional system perspective to explore how universities can sustain and improve the innovative performance and competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) belonging to traditional sectors that still strongly characterizes European countries such as Italy. In the Veneto Region, where the empirical analysis has been conducted, collaboration between local universities and traditional SMEs does exist, and these relations are mainly built around activities of process and product innovation of incremental nature aimed at improving firms’ performance. However, this paper shows that in this specific Regional Innovation System (RIS) the potential of local universities have for enhancing the absorptive capacity of SMEs is not fully developed. The contacts between industry and university are mainly scattered in a series of individual and isolated initiatives. Consequently, in a RIS perspective, the results in terms of benefits for the territory are less than what they could potentially be, and there is room for pushing the role of universities further on the path towards becoming territorial developing factories (Lazzeroni, Piccaluga, 2003). Structures of intermediation like Innovation Brokering Agencies, which have widened their activities in the territory in these last years, can represent the leverage to direct the potential of the universities towards local firms’ needs and make the Veneto RIS evolve

Suggested Citation

  • Plechero, Monica, 2009. "The Role of Local Universities in Improving Traditional SMEs Innovative Performances: The Veneto Region Case," Papers in Innovation Studies 2009/11, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lucirc:2009_011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen & David Jacobson & Paul Robertson, 2006. "'Low-tech' Industries: Innovativeness and Development Perspectives—A Summary of a European Research Project," Prometheus, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 3-21.
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    More about this item


    Regional Innovation Systems; SMEs; local universities; Innovation Brokering Agencies (IBAs);

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General


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