Developing the Regional Innovation System – Business Development Laboratory as a Promoter of Science-Based New Ventures
Innovations have been seen as the key factor for the European Union economies to survive in international competition (see Lisbon agreement etc.). Consequently, there are many programmes and policies encouraging universities’ participation in international, national and regional innovation systems.
There are currently various schemes, programmes, assisting organisations and guidance services for new venture creation in Finland and in the Turku region. However, the Finnish paradox in innovation is that while the country has actively invested in research, development and technology, the output has been very modest (a few science-based companies, entrepreneurship scores low among educated Finns). Consequently, according to our recent study on industry-academia collaboration (Malinen et al. 2005) there are problems in the Finnish innovation system. The paper concentrates on two of the problems negatively impacting new ideas and innovations coming from the university sector to the innovation pipeline: firstly, growth and internationalisation of new innovations have been very moderate due to the limited number of potential innovations in the first place and, secondly, due to the limited understanding and capabilities for commercialising new ventures.
In this context, the paper presents a case study of a recently founded Business Development Laboratory activity as a vehicle and promoter of increased flow of new science-based Venturas into the innovation system. The paper also offers suggestions for other organisations assisting science-based businesses.