chapter  1
34 Pages

Introduction

Inconsequence,regionalpoliciesare increasinglyemphasisingtheneedtoharnessthe indigenouspotentialoftheproblemareas.One approachtothisisbystimulatinginnovation(ina verybroadsense)withintheregion'sexisting plants.Thisreorientationistoacertainextent reflectedinthegrowingattentioneconomic geographersarenowgivingtotherelationsbetween innovation,technologyandregionaldevelopment. Theotherapproachtoincreasingtheindigenous economicpotentialofaregionistostimulate localentrepreneurship.Thegrowinginterestinthe phenomenonofnewfirmformationwithinthe frameworkofregionalpolicyprovidesmuchofthe contextforthisbook.However,theinterestshown byeconomicgeographersandregionaleconomistsin newfirmformationisnotonlypromptedbytherole newfirmsplayinregionalpolicy.Perhapseven moreimportantisthebroadly-acceptedargument thatlargecorporationswillnotbeable,atleast intheforeseeablefuture,toprovideenoughjobs fortheworkingpopulationsofourEuropean countries.SinceDavidBirchpublishedhisresearch on'thejobgenerationprocess'in1979,manyother commentatorshavealsosuggestedthatnewly-created smallfirmscanmakeanimportantcontributionto thecreationofnewjobs.Evenwhensuch expectationsarepitchedtoohigh,whichtheyoften are,thispossibilityexplainstheinterestinnew firmformationshownbypoliticians,development agencies,journalistsandscientists.