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Determinants of the economic performance of Portuguese Academic Spin-offs: do Science & Technology infrastructures and support matter?


  • Aurora A.C. Teixeira

    () (CEF.UP, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto; INESC Porto; OBEGEF; UTEN)

  • Marlene Grande

    () (University Technology Enterprise Network (UTEN))


Academic and political interest in Academic Spin-offs (ASOs) has increased significantly in Portugal in the last few years. Although these firms, created to exploit the results of scientific research, are considered important contributors to employment and wealth creation, in the Portuguese case, their impact has been modest, at best. Based on a sample of 101 ASOs associated to the members of the University Technology Enterprise Network (UTEN), we found that ASOs are quite small (employing on average 9 full time equivalent individuals and a turnover of 300 thousand euros). Besides being highly R&D intensive, Portuguese ASOs are internationally-led with almost half of the respondent firms involved in exporting. An econometric analysis revealed the relevant role of certain types of S&T infrastructures and support mechanisms for the economic performance of ASOs In particular, access to incubators, access to skilled labour, and support in terms of business mentoring and counselling emerged as significantly and positively related with ASOs’ sales per worker. Moreover, their economic performance is extremely dependent on internationalization dynamics, with firms that export outperforming their domestically-based counterparts. The lack of economic return on R&D performed and patents registered by firms indicates that the steady investment in science, technology and innovation in Portugal in the last decade, although undoubtedly necessary, has not yet materialized sufficiently to push the system towards solid, productive and value added firms. Therefore, policies aimed at accelerating ideas and knowledge into internationally competitive ideas and products are required.

Suggested Citation

  • Aurora A.C. Teixeira & Marlene Grande, 2013. "Determinants of the economic performance of Portuguese Academic Spin-offs: do Science & Technology infrastructures and support matter?," FEP Working Papers 502, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:502

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. María Jesús Rodríguez-Gulías & David Rodeiro-Pazos & Sara Fernández-López, 2016. "The Regional Effect on the Innovative Performance of University Spin-Offs: a Multilevel Approach," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 7(4), pages 869-889, December.

    More about this item


    Academic Spin-offs; S&T infrastructures; Portugal; UTEN;

    JEL classification:

    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L29 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Other
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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