Enhancing the innovative capacity of small firms through triple helix interactions: challenges and opportunities

Liana Marina Ranga, Joost Miedema, René Jorna

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This paper presents the results of a recent exploratory study aiming to enhance the innovative capacity of small firms in the Northern Netherlands, a region lagging behind the rest of the country in terms of economic growth and innovative capacity. The triple helix perspective is adopted to examine the causes of the poor knowledge transfer among small firms, academic and higher vocational training institutions, government and other public agencies. Main causes include insufficient communication between parties, little awareness of government agencies on small firms’ specific problems, poor visibility of government programmes for small firms, high bureaucracy and overlapping of responsibilities between government agencies with an entrepreneurship-support mission, cultural and language differences. A number of policy recommendations are suggested, particularly at the university–industry interface, as the ‘university’ institutional sphere appears to be the least active in the collaboration with small firms and is often outrun by the regional higher vocational training institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-716
JournalTechnology analysis and strategic management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • smes
  • innovation

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