Scientific vs Commercial business networks, product innovation and academic spin-off growth

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This research examines the influence of scientific and commercial networks on growth within academic spin-offs, through product innovation. In the literature, there are conflicting views on this relationship. On the one hand, it is claimed that new knowledge from knowledge institutions within spin-offs makes it possible to come up with breakthrough innovation earlier, which results in faster spin-off growth. On the other hand, it is claimed that the use of one-sided knowledge networks causes too little use of the commercial network and that growth stagnates due to a lack of knowledge about needs from the market. This research, therefore, examines the influence of these networks on the growth of spin-offs through product innovation. This is done by analyzing a survey sent to spin-offs from the Radboud University. The results are analyzed using a univariate-, a bivariate- and finally a multivariate analysis (regression analysis). The results of this research show that the scientific network has a positive significant effect on product innovation within spin-offs. In addition, the commercial network has a positive (not significant) effect on product innovation. The interaction effect of both networks, on the other hand, has a negative effect on product innovation within spin-offs. Subsequently, the effect of the networks on growth is examined, which is divided into revenue- and employee growth. This shows that there is a positive indirect effect of the scientific network on both revenue and employee growth. When looking at the commercial network, it can be concluded that there is a positive indirect effect on revenue growth, but no effect on employee growth. When the interaction effect is analyzed, it must be concluded that there is a negative effect on both revenue- and employee growth of the participating spin-offs.
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