Urenio Watch Watch: Incubators

A Guide for Innovation Policy Makers and Practitioners

The PAXIS Manual describes the main good practices identified by PAXIS initiative in the areas of policy design, pre-seed and early-stage financing; incubation; technology transfer and spin-offs; promotion of an entrepreneurial and innovation culture and political awareness.

Despite the concern that according to current trends it would take more than 50 years before Europe as a whole reaches the US level of innovation performance, there certainly are some European areas that are world-class innovation performers. Strong innovation systems involving important regional players have provided tremendous support to a number of European regions. Amongst these strong innovative regions are Stockholm, Oxford, Cambridge, Munich, Stuttgart Region and the Finnish Uusimaa (Helsinki) Region.

The European Commission developed the PAXIS initiative in order to study how best to support innovative start-ups. A learning platform was built including twenty-two European “regions of excellence” recognised for their outstanding results. During the past five years, the PAXIS regions focused their work on those policy approaches and practical schemes which gave the most promising results. Through their collaboration and networking, they have rendered the best of these ideas that are indeed both accessible and transferable. The regions have learned from each other, recognising that it is co-operation and not competition, which drives them forward in their search of excellence. In the course of this process, some 1400 contributors identified and analysed over 300 methodologies and good practices.

This manual describes the main good practices identified by PAXIS in the key areas of policy design, innovation financing, start-up development and entrepreneurship. The practices are the result of the work of very different regions, but all aim at helping new companies through the practical difficulties they face during their creation and early growth periods.

This manual contributes with concrete ideas centred on nurturing innovative start-ups and SMEs; it is presented in the form of a “recipe-book” for policy makers and innovation experts. The many schemes that have been replicated successfully in other regions should serve as an inspiration to policymakers across Europe. These results will not only contribute to the policy debate, but will assist regions and Member States in designing effective policies which stimulate both innovation and the commercial exploitation of the research results.

The best practices in the PAXIS manual fall under the following areas:

  • Pre–Seed and Early–Stage Financing
  • Incubation Models
  • Spin–Off / Technology Transfer
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation Culture / Political Awareness