Il finanziamento delle imprese Spin-off della ricerca italiana

Elisa Salvador


This paper aims at examining the university spin-off firms context at present in place in Italy, with particular attention to the relationship with the academic institutions and the problems of financing. In the latest years, more and more attention is devoted to investigate the emergence of the university spin-off phenomenon. There is an increasing focus on universities’ entrepreneurial orientation and their ability to exploit and transfer scientific knowledge to the commercial sector. The present paper is based on a series of interviews held during the period May-July 2005 in several university spin-off firms in Milan, Bologna, Padova and Genova. The paper is divided in two parts. In the first one, after a theoretical background on the spin-off literature, it follows a general description of the United Kingdom context and the Italian university spin-off firms framework and their characteristics. The second part is focused on an analysis of the spin-off firms interviewed. The results highlight positive and negative factors in the relationship between university institutions and spin-off firms. Furthermore, the relationships with banks and venture capitalists are investigated. The interviews highlighted a lack of competencies in the financial sector and a general negative opinion on venture capital. Italian university spin-off firms have difficulties in negotiating good conditions with banks and are afraid to trust in venture capitalists. Besides, Italy doesn’t have an effective business angels network and it lacks seed capital. Therefore they prefer to count on the classical three Fs, “family, friends and fools”, to raise capital for their business. Notwithstanding, Italian university spin-off firms are characterised by a very high know-how background and a great desire of independence. In conclusion, Italy is just at the beginning in developing the university spin-off phenomenon. Most universities emanated spin-off regulations only in recent years. There is significant potential for the Italian university spin-off firms to play a bigger, more enhanced role in the creation of new jobs in the future, and in supporting technology transfer

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