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Entrepreneurship and regional competitiveness: the role and progression of policy

By Robert Huggins and N. Williams


Regions have gained a position at the forefront of the economic development policy agenda. However, the regional approach to economic strategy remains contested. This paper tests the extent to which regional policy in less competitive regions is accounting for issues relating to entrepreneurship and enterprise development as a tool for improving regional competitiveness. It does so by examining policies undertaken by the UK Labour government 1997–2010, drawing on interviews with policy makers and an analysis of relevant policy documents. This paper finds that entrepreneurship policy at the regional level is multidimensional, with policies broadly ranging from those that are either economically or socially driven. Although there is a considerable policy activity in these areas across less competitive regions, enterprise policy making remains relatively undifferentiated across the regions. There are a number of evolutions in regional policy occurring, especially a shift from policies relating to the facilitation of clusters to those focused on developing regional innovation ecosystems. It is found that regional policy makers are under pressure to measure short-term outputs at the expense of long-term nurturing. The paper also finds that there is a tension between using enterprise policy as a tool for improving regional competitiveness or for addressing economic and social disadvantage

Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:
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