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The role of regional support system in driving innovations

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Author list: Dalborg, Cecilia;Sörensson, Anna
Publication year: 2018

Abstract

We explore the role, influence and interaction with the support system for entrepreneurial initiatives in two non-core Nordic regions. The analyses are based on interviews 34 nature-based business owners about development their business and their experience with the support system and rural advisors in this process. Data from support system and business advisors were gathered through their websites, policy documents, 4 workshops and supplemental interviews. We found a complex picture of entrepreneur/firm (internal), environmental (external) and relational/supporting (system) factor combination promotes nature-based business establishments and employment. Several entrepreneurs asks for a more flexible support system and tailor made solutions. Firms that already have a high knowledge base and absorptive capacity seem also most efficient in getting the help they need. A dilemma is that those in most need for help don’t know how to ask for it, or do not have capacity to internalize new knowledge and resources offered. To make use of external support it critical that they find their match in a well-functioning support system adjusted to their needs. The support system must be aware of varying level of absorptive capacity in the entrepreneurial businesses. The various roles of intermediary /mentor roles/functions and the need for industry-specific knowledge seem pertinent.


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