The Empirical Context of the Study – SPJ
The Empirical Context of the Study – Science Park in Jönköping, has been focused on in assisting both the authors and the reader in gasping the complexity of the studied matter; understand the background of SPJ, their history, organizational structure, the region where they are active but also understand why this study is of importance for SPJ.
Science Parks as a Phenomenon
To prelude the investigation into the objective, the authors have outline what exactly a business incubator is and what purpose or role they serve in the business community.
The magazine Entrepreneur.com (2009) states that a business incubator as ―An organiza-tion designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capi-tal, coaching, common services, and networking connections.‖ (Entrepreneur.com, 2009). Their goal is to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to take their ideas and business foundations to flight. Oftentimes, these organizations, which are found all around the world, can provide access to funds, leasing space, computer equipment, and, most importantly, mentorship from top business managers from around the area.
The introduction of the first science parks emerged in the US in the 1950s, but the first science park in Europe was established in Scotland in the city of Edinburgh in 1965 (Yli-nenpää, 2001). As for Scandinavian countries, the first science park was opened in 1985, in Oulu, Finland (Ylinenpää, 2001).
A business incubator is a program designed to develop successful growth for entrepre-neurial firms by utilizing an array of different business services and resources. This is coor-dinated by incubator management teams that provide help through new contacts, business development, and financing assistance to newly started companies. The structure of an in-cubator can differ when it comes to what kind of resources and organization they have and what kind firms and customers they serve. An incubator or a science park have many syn-onyms, all different terms to describe a science park such as a ―…research parks, technol-ogy parks, innovation centres, technopoles, etc., and this rather diverse vocabulary indeed reflects the fact that there is no uniformly accepted definition of a science park.‖ (Hom-men, Doloreux & Larsson, 2005)
There is a difference between a pure research technology parks and incubators. The major difference lies in the scale of their projects and their degree of collaboration with the uni-versity, government, or any other private sector companies. However, the most significant difference is that most often research and technology parks do not offer any business sup-port, whereas this is one of the core businesses activities of a business incubator (Yli-nenpää, 2001).
A benchmarking study in the European commission also stated a difference between Eu-ropean incubators and US incubators. European incubators have developed a great exper-tise in fields such as virtual networking, entrepreneurial training, and creating integration of incubator functions into broader strategies (Jenniskens, 2007). In contrast, US incuba-
tors are stronger in financing and management structure (Jenniskens, 2007). There is also a difference between the European/Japanese Science Park. The Government in Japan, France and the Netherlands, have played an active part in the science parks and its creation, while looking at the science parks in the United States the government tends to only be in-volved in the actual development of the parks, and not focusing on coordination the parks often done in Japan, France and the Netherlands. (Goldstein and Luger 1990).
Early stage business often comes to an incubator with the lack of knowledge, questions, and a lack of financial capital to grow their business ideas. And, this is where incubators come into play: they give them the basic tools to make their journey successful. Generally, there are three main services that they offer: mentorship, physical equipment and space, and connections. The first service, mentorship, is used guide incubates (the small compa-nies matriculating through the business incubation process) to their business fruition (En-trepeneur.com, 2009). The second service incubators offer are tangible equipment and ser-vices such as: leasing space, high speed internet, computers, and sometimes gyms and car-pooling (Science Park Jönköping, 2008). The last services, which can be understood as in-tangible services, are the networking and connections that are brought to the table (Entre-peneur.com, 2009).
With the incubator’s mentorship the companies can overcome some of their knowledge gaps, and with the incubator’s tangible service overcome some of their lack of resources. Also, networking is crucial for early business to help in raising financial capital. With these services, they can begin to grow, and, finally, they will hopefully be able to stand on their own feet and take their ideas to flight.
The start of incubators originally came from the west coast in the United States, in Stan-ford Research Park during the 1950s and its purpose was to support entrepreneurial and academic people at the university (Swedish Incubator association, 2009).
Even though the original start of Science Parks started as early as the 1950’s, the growth is still continuing. According to Swedish Incubators & Science Parks’ (now referred to as, SISP) research in 2008, concluded that the amount of companies in their science parks in Sweden has increased 20% between 2005 and 2008 (Swedish Incubator Association, 2009). In 2000 there were 2,752 companies in SISP, and it increased to 3,320 companies in 2008 (Swedish Incubator Association, 2009). For information see Appendix section 9.1.
The same report also shows an increase regarding the new working positions within the SISP science parks in Sweden. In 2005 there were 50,429 involved in the SISP science park companies, and in 2008 this number increased to 64,445, meaning a growth of 27% be-tween 2005 and 2008 (Swedish Incubator association, 2009). In short, there has been a pat-tern of growth within the SISP incubators and science parks in Sweden between 2005 and 2008.
Science Park Jönköping
To better understand the object of research the authors give an introduction to Science Park Jönköping and its history.
In Jönköping’s case, SPJ was founded in spring 1999 by Jönköping University and Jönköping Municipality, Jönköping County, 16 municipalities, Handelskammaren in Jönköping and Företagarnas riksorganisation (D. Friberg personal communication, 2009-09-30).
Science Park Jönköping was founded as a model for new and developing businesses to create sustainable growth in the region of Jönköping. Until 2008, the Science Park System, which included other Science Park satellites, and Science Park Jönköping were one body. But, in 2008 the Science Park System and Science Park were separated into two distinct parts: Science Park Jönköping, and the encompassing, Science Park System (D. Friberg personal communication, 2009-09-30).
Today, the split has changed the hierarchy vastly. The Science Park System comprises of business collective members such as: Handelskammaren, Svenskt Näringsliv, Företagarna, and is also other entities such as the various municipalities and Jönköping county. This change in hierarchy moved the business collectives’ focus from one that was geared to-wards the Jönköping community as a whole towards a more general relationship or more encompassing one amongst all Science Parks in the region. Presently, the Science Park Sys-tem is financed through the regional council of Jönköping (Science Park Systemet, 2009). And, in SPJ’s case, they are owned 50% by the University of Jönköping and 50% by the Jönköping municipality. This 50-50 split was a natural result from the change in relation-ships in 2008. Clearly, Jönköping University and Jönköping municipality would become owners of SPJ since they invested equal money in SPJ on a yearly basis (D. Friberg person-al communication, 2009-09-30).
The reasoning behind this was that since only Jönköping University and Jönköping muni-cipality injected money into SPJ on a yearly basis (the funding being necessary for SPJ as a non-profit organization) it was decided that these two will become the owners of SPJ (D. Friberg personal communication, 2009-09-30).
It also gave the financiers, being geographically adjacent to SPJ, a better overview as active members and strengthened the relationship among the participants. However, the two members, Jönköping University and the municipality of Jönköping, are now interested in re-inviting the private sector as active members in order to address the future needs of en-terprises in the region.
Notes from a Conversation with Dan Friberg
This conversation took place on the phone on the 30 of September 2009. The authors here present the notes and conclusion from the conversation. In order to understand the past structure of SPJ, Mr. Friberg (tempo-rary CEO of SPJ), revealed information on their previous history with emphasis on their split-up from the traditional hierarchy. Below, is a summary of the conversation with Friberg. These notes have also been sent to Dan Friberg, in order for him to validate the accuracy of this information.
The founders of Science Park Jönköping in 1999 were: Jönköping University, Jönköping Municipality, the county council, 16 local municipalities, Företagarna in Jönköping, Han-delskammaren in Jönköping, and Svenskt Näringsliv in Jönköping. All these provided some capital in starting the non-profit. The only reoccurring entities that funded SPJ operations, by giving SPJ an annual funding were Jönköping University and Jönköping Municipality.
2.1 Discussion of Problem
2.4 Outline of the thesis
3 The Empirical Context of the Study – SPJ
3.1 Science Parks as a Phenomenon
3.2 Science Park Jönköping
3.3 Notes from a Conversation with Dan Friberg
3.4 Region of Jönköping
4 Frame of Reference
4.1 A Background on Science Parks
4.2 Ownership and Financing
4.3 Awareness as an Additional Concept
4.4 Strategy Theories Applicable for SPJ
4.5 Summarizing Frame of References
5.1 Research Approach
5.2 Data Collection
5.3 Validity, Reliability, & Credibility of our Surveying
6 Empirical Findings
6.1 Quantitative Data Collection
6.2 Voices of the Companies
6.3 Interviews with the Business Collectives
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
Science Park Jönköping and its Potential Future Ownership Structure