Reports #2

Reports #2

Reports #2

“Global Innovation Index 2020 – Who will finance entrepreneurship?” *

According to the 2020 WIPO Global Innovation Index, firm growth is not that effective on the transformation of innovation into economic benefit, which means that as an innovative company grows, it does not necessarily end up in producing more economic contribution. According to a study, doubling the size of the company can only increase the ratio of R&D to sales by 0.2%.

Since the 2008 economic crisis, we see that government support to entrepreneurial activities has increased, mostly through financial mechanisms. The rationale of these public supports is the positive relationship between employment, economic growth, innovation, entrepreneurship and investment capital, as demonstrated by numerous studies. As we discussed it in a previous article, innovation ecosystems are the architecture of a country’s innovation success. The rest, settles and develops based on this architecture. The main actors of the innovation ecosystem are institutions that produce basic knowledge (universities and research institutions), entrepreneurial companies and financing bodies. The more and more mutual relationships these actors establish with each other, the more successful countries are in innovation.

In the relationship between economic development and innovation, the creative power of new firms had been overlooked by economists for many years. Even Schumpeter, who made the first serious theoretical studies in the field of entrepreneurship, emphasized the innovative advantage of large companies, not small companies.

Over time, this hypothesis seems to have been shelved. The revolutionary technology innovations of small entrepreneurial companies in medical devices, semiconductors, software and especially biotechnology and internet sectors have been remarkable. Even though these companies do not produce key technologies such as genetic engineering or internet protocols, they can be pioneers in terms of “commercial product development success to solve the current problems of humanity”, which is at the basis of the innovation concept. While universities and research institutions are the ones that create key technologies through basic science studies, those who transform this knowledge into commercial opportunities are mostly newly established small companies. This point highlights the importance of technology transfer interfaces and the key role of entrepreneurs in the market. Small innovative initiatives should be financed in some way, more precisely “effectively”, in order to exploit basic knowledge in a way to produce solutions to the current problems of humanity.

However, when looking at the public support for entrepreneurship, it is seen that these are small starting capitals that will cover the required financing just before the valley of death. A study emphasizes the innovative advantage of small entrepreneurs supported by investment capital, and shows that these companies are more successful than those who are able to get public support. Why does this advantage arise, or if we are to associate it with the core question of the report, why should these small enterprises be financed by venture capital rather than public incentives?

In the answer to this question, “risk” comes forward as the main factor here. New companies usually do not possess sufficient data that allows the investor to accurately and precisely analyze their potential. In addition to the lack of data, it is also uncertain whether the entrepreneur will act opportunistically once they have accessed the investment, which increases the risk significantly. Among the mechanisms developed in response to these problems are technology valuation (due diligence) and interview processes that venture capitalists use to make investment decisions. Due to the highly selective nature of these processes (investment rate of 0.5-1%), venture capital is much more efficient than public supports in terms of innovation (not basic research or seed capital) financing.  The staged/rounded financing based on the milestones determined according to the market success or the technological progress made, increases the effect of the investment as it requires continuous interaction between the parties. An idea continues to receive funding as long as the success of the entrepreneur continues. The constant involvement of the investor is a factor that increases this success. Venture capital, while satisfying the financial hunger of young companies striving to overcome the valley of death, contributes to the restructuring needed by scaling companies. Entrepreneurs can invest more in R&D and market activities with this guidance and financing.

As Refo, we attach importance to understanding the nature of the relationship between this economic development and innovation and to shape our activities and services accordingly. We have accelerated our “technology valuation” studies, which we believe are important in terms of meeting young enterprises with venture capital for a strong innovation ecosystem. You can contact us for your support needs.

* This article is a review based on the fifth chapter of WIPO Global Innovation Index 2020 – Government Incentives for Entrepreneurship.

Reports #1

Reports #1

Reports #1

“Global Innovation Index 2020”

The Global Innovation Index, prepared by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which comparatively examines global innovation trends in line with the data of 131 countries, was published on September 2. The title of the report, which came out in the shadow of the Covid-19 crisis, is “Who will finance innovation?” This is a topic that directly concerns our field of work as Refo. We will share the important findings of this report with you throughout the month and we will try to learn lessons from the perspective of innovation ecosystems.

The economic contractions expected to be effective over the coming years are expected to lead to resource constraints and a more cautious approach to investments. This brings the issue of financing innovation, which is seen as an important means of getting out of economic crises, to a more critical point. It is very important for the global economy to overcome both the current health crisis and global problems with innovative solutions in terms of employment, creating new markets and reducing costs with lower carbon footprint. Preservation of the future competitive power for large companies depends on the R&D investments they will make during this period. In the report, it is said that there is still hope for continuous R&D spending, which has grown much more than global growth in 2018 (5.2%). Information technologies, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are at the forefront of this crisis. In addition to these, some traditional sectors such as tourism, education and retail are being forced to be innovative by the crisis. It may also spark innovation in how work is organized at the firm- and at the individual level, and how production is reorganized locally and globally. Unleashing the potential in these areas and transforming them as a contribution to the economy depends on the continuity of public support and the collaborative models to be established.

Paper Readings #1

Paper Readings #1

Paper Readings #1

“Knowledge-intensive innovative entrepreneurship integrating Schumpeter, evolutionary economics, and innovation systems” by Malerva and McKelvey

According to himself, Joseph Schumpeter was a man who could realise two of his three wishes; being  the best economist of the world, the best rider of Australia and the best lover of Vienna. Many entrepreneurs are familiar (maybe without even recognising) some of his economic insights  from his “creative destruction” or “disruptive innovation” concepts: Being innovative enough to change the rules of the game after having destructed old ways of doing things. This is almost an imperative for entrepreneurial firms in the new paradigm because cutting down the costs has reached its limits and price competition is no longer an option even for larger firms. The only way out of competition is to innovate.

Precisely as Schumpeter foresaw, policy makers are after those “disruptive products” that can overcome capitalism’s inherent tendency for creating crises by being high risk-high gain,being able to create undiscovered markets, satisfying unmet demands, being as unique as possible to avoid the ruthless of competition of red ocean markets and respectful to environment and all life. The mechanisms generating these products are the most effective ways of creating ever changing (growing) and dynamic markets. The most popular one of these mechanisms is innovative firms questioning every incumbent solution available in the market. Another one is the public funds closing the R&D&I investment gap of these high risk projects. Technology transfer agents or technology intensive ecosystems can be other examples.

One can easily observe the increasing share and diversity of sub-programs devoted to high-risk, unbankable R&D&I projects within the framework programs of European Commission in the search for problem solving, market focused disruptive endeavors.

While “disruptive innovation” becomes more popular in theory and in practice, it is as much as important to measure the impact all of this mobilization especially considering the public sources allocated. Malerva and McKelvey’s paper[1] aims to conceptually understand, define, and measure knowledge-intensive innovative entrepreneurship (KIE), the realm of the most disruptive innovators.

Theoretical backbone of the study relies on and integrates three economic concepts:

  • Schumpeterian tradition giving insight about the entrepreneurial  dynamics and the entrepreneur’s   functions on transforming the economy
  • Evolutionary economics on the underlying processes of the interactions between innovation, technology institutions and economic dynamics and
  • Innovation systems approach dealing with ecosystems in which the entrepreneurs operate, their access to knowledge, innovativeness, institutions (suppliers, universities, public institutions, financial institutions etc.) that can affect their interactions with other agents in diverse ways

Metrics of the analytical part of the study are derived from the definitions based on these approaches. Those definitions and key characteristics are given in the boxes.

The research behind the paper (EC 7th Framework Program, AEGIS Research Project 2013) is a project conducted in 10 European countries with 4004 firms younger than 8 years. Firms were chosen according to the KIE definition. In order to analyze key characteristics and examine the relevance of KIE in the economic system, researchers used a large scale database based on survey questions.

Definition of KIE

KIE entrepreneurial firms are new learning organizations that use and transform existing knowledge and generate new knowledge in order to innovate within innovation systems or

KIE ventures are new firms that are innovative, have significant knowledge intensity in their activity, are embedded in innovation systems and exploit innovative opportunities in diverse evolving sectors and contexts


– Is a process with emergent properties

– Involves actors searching for opportunities and generating new knowledge

– Is affected by of the learning, technological and knowledge context

– Involves the co-evolution of knowledge, firms, industrial structure and institutions

– Is affected by the complementarities in knowledge and capabilities of actors linked within innovation systems

– Relies upon existing and new networks and channels through which knowledge is communicated, shared or generated

The key functions of the entrepreneur in the economy

– Acting as a disruptive, disequilibrium force, which arises endogenously in the economy

– Driving wider processes of economic dynamism, which in turn lead to economic growth and societal well-being


– Take risks and reaps profits

– Turn technology and ideas into innovations in the market

– Enable new knowledge combinations

– Face uncertainty about current choices in relation to future outcomes

– Create opportunities, by both driving and adapting to change in the external environment

– Are involved with others in the diffusion, use and creation of knowledge

– Engage in learning and problem-solving activities

– Use knowledge into new combinations for innovation

– Are affected by education, knowledge and experience in their innovative activities

– Are highly dependent upon the knowledge infrastructure, the supporting actors and the institutional context

– Create opportunities but are also bounded by the geographical and sectoral dimensions in which they operate and innovate

This is it for this first part. In the second part we will be telling you about the findings of this research.