In spite of the increasing interest at a practical level on the policies that various European countries have set off to support and develop theirs industrial clusters, the scarce knowledge about it constitutes a paradox itself, specially from a comparative point of view.
The presentation shows the main stages by which the spin-off creation process of the public research system goes through, so as to evaluate its more critical aspects. Based on the experience of the “Vivero Virtual de Empresas” (Entrepreneurial Business Innovation Centre) program of the Community of Madrid, which has been developed between 2000 and 2006, some actions aimed at improving results by the dismissal of institutional and economical obstacles will be illustrated.
The idea of “regional innovation systems” came about by combining the regional innovation policy already in existence in the UK with regional innovation networks. The systems are defined as a set of nodes in the innovation chain, including knowledge-generating firms and institutions, as well as knowledge exploiting-exploring enterprises, and a number of specialised intermediary functions such as service infrastructure, financing instruments, commercialisation and market expertise and policy support.
Canada and Spain have very different histories and cultures, but they have many remarkable similarities with respect to economic diversification and leveraging participation in a rapidly globalizing innovation system. In particular, both countries have strongly regionalized political systems and both have substantial foreign investment in key manufacturing industries, clustered in specific regions. Likewise, both countries depend heavily upon unhindered access to extremely large neighbouring markets – the EU for Spain and the US for Canada.