Chell, Elizabet and Oakey, Ray
Knowledge creation its transfer and the role of science enterprise education in prompting this progress
Innovation: Management, Policy and Practice, 6, (3), .
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Over the past 15 years, a crucial part of the U.K. Government's agenda has been to develop industrial and innovation policies in support of entrepreneurship and the creation of new businesses. They included significant investment in an incubator fund, increased funding for the exploitation of technologies by high tech small firms and the establishment of nation-wide Science Enterprise Centres located within the higher education sector.
This paper argues that to a large extent this policy has preceded evidence-based theory. The policy research agenda should focus on all stages of the nascent enterprise development process. Our definition of nascent entrepreneurship takes the business creation process back to the twin notions of an intention and a germ of an idea. A nascent entrepreneur is 'someone who initiates serious activities that are intended to culminate in a viable business start-up' (Aldrych, 1999:77). Research should address what these activities are and how long it takes to progress through the process.
The paper suggests that the resource based view (RBV) should be extended to encompass nascent entrepreneurship in science enterprise. Theory should focus on knowledge development within the Nascent Entrepreneurial Unit (NEU) as a necessary resource. Aspects of knowledge acquisition in science enterprise are tacit and embedded in a network of relationships required to support venture development. The policy agenda should thus research the knowledge production process, where knowledge is known to be widely distributed amongst a transdisciplinary group of scientists, practitioners and professionals in investment and business support of NEUs. These impacts on what and how skills are taught in science enterprise. Examples suggest that business founding is based on team starts and this in turn implies that the human capital element may be crucial component on new enterprise.
The paper argues that a policy research agenda should not only examine NEUs at different stages in their development, but also examine whether differences arise between sectors. Finally it suggests that there are subtle cultural and situational factors which affect entrepreneurial behaviour, and therefore that an international comparative study would be both a valuable and essential aspect.
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