Meyer, Rolf

Meyer, Rolf


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  • Publikation
    Policies in support of high-growth innovative enterprises. Part 1: Characterisation of innovative high-growth firms
    (Publications Office of the European Union, 2013) Barjak, Franz; Korlaar, Leonique; Jansen, Matthijs; Lilischkis, Stefan; Meyer, Rolf
    Background and objectives There is evidence that high growth innovative enterprises (HGIEs) contribute decisively to job creation. However, there is a lack of knowledge about HGIE characteristics and policies that could support them. This study contributes new insights for both aspects. Methodology Results in this policy brief are mainly based on a survey of HGIEs in 36 innovative industries in eight countries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Switzerland, the USA, Republic of Korea and Japan. The sample included 580 HGIEs. The survey targeted companies whose number of employees had grown at least one third over three consecutive years in the past five years. For Poland, the target was 22% over two years due to data limitations. Only internal (organic) growth was considered; growth due to mergers and acquisition was not included. The size threshold was ten employees at the beginning of the growth period. The data universe for sampling included 4% HGIEs. HGIE characteristics Age: The majority of HGIEs in the sample were older than ten years. This applied to all countries and sectors. Thus, high growth is apparently not a start-up phenomenon but takes place after the initial struggle of establishing the enterprise in the market. Moreover, in the vast majority of HGIEs high growth started in the past ten years. 13% of the responding firms were found to be spin-offs. Most of them (68%) originated from other companies. This might question the current political focus on spin-offs from public research – or call for enhanced policy measures to support such spin-offs. The dominant type of customers of HGIEs in the sample are other companies. Many HGIEs may thus not be known to the public because they do not sell to households. For the majority of HGIEs the national market is the main market. Many HGIEs may thus have a potential to grow further into international markets. The main factors of high growth appear to be a skilled workforce and directors actively targeting growth. This applies to all countries and almost all sectors. Successful product or service innovation is also important and apparently triggered by strong competition. Three barriers were found to be most severe: (1) Bureaucratic hurdles and regulation, (2) difficult access to finance, and (3) finding skilled employees. This applies to all countries and sectors, while there are also national and sectoral specificities. National specificities Germany had the highest share of HGIE spinoffs with multiple origin. France had the largest HGIE share in the sampled countries. The UK had the largest share of spin-offs (19%, average 14%). Bureaucracy and regulation were found to be the single most important growth barrier in Poland. The share of young HGIEs was found to be largest in the US (21%, average 14%). In Korea, policy preferences for big business seem to be a specific barrier to growth. Access to finance was apparently not a problem for HGIEs in Japan. No notable specificity can be reported for Switzerland. Sectoral specificities In the data universe the shares of HGIEs per industry do not differ much. In all industries with a sufficient number of cases the shares were not higher than 7%. Growth in manufacturing and services is partly driven by different factors: highly skilled employees were judged as more important by service companies, whereas entering new international markets was more important for manufacturers. However, each innovative industry appears to have its own distinct profile of growth factors.
    05 - Forschungs- oder Arbeitsbericht
  • Publikation
    Policies in support of high-growth innovative enterprises Part 2: Policy measures to improve the conditions for the growth of innovative enterprises
    (Publications Office of the European Union, 2013) Barjak, Franz; Korlaar, Leonique; Jansen, Matthijs; Meyer, Rolf; Lilischkis, Stefan
    Background and methodology There is a lack of knowledge about how policies can support thriving of high-growth innovative enterprises (HGIEs). This report analyses policies for HGIEs in eight countries: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Poland, Switzerland, USA, South Korea and Japan. Primary data was collected in March 2013 in a survey of 580 HGIEs in these countries. High growth was defined as at least one third increase in employment in three consecutive years in the past five years. Primary and secondary data was used for an analysis of national policies. Cross-country synthesis The HGIEs assessed most framework conditions for doing business as neutral or rather harmful – there is considerable room for policy improvements. Company taxation and labour market regulation were judged most critically. The majority of HGIEs saw some need or even strong need for governmental policy to improve business conditions. This applies particularly to innovation-related issues like skills development, enterprise R&D, and IP protection. A need for policy adjustments seem to be less pressing in Germany, the UK, Switzerland and the US and higher in France, Poland and Korea. 41% of HGIEs said they used specific state support measures. The share was found to be considerably higher in the EU countries (49%) than in the non-EU countries (27%). Almost all HGIEs assessed the support as helpful. Apparently, HGIEs welcome any type of support as long as it improves their balance sheet. 10% of the HGIEs reported to have been located in a science or research park; of these 74% found it helpful. 6% said they were located in an incubator or accelerator; thereof 62% found it helpful. No harmful experiences were reported for either location. Country results Germany‘s most notable measure for HGIEs is a high-tech startup fund. German HGIEs tended to assess framework conditions as neutral and they do not see much need for state policy. 55% made use of state support measures. A key characteristic of Germany’s enterprise landscape may be steadily growing “hidden champions” and a strong “Mittelstand” rather than HGIEs. France has been operating several policies for HGIEs and is currently redefining its support measures for HGIEs. The share of HGIEs using state support measures was the highest of all countries (62%). The country’s high share of HGIEs does however apparently not translate into high GDP growth. The United Kingdom has policies for HGIEs, focussing on access to finance and improving (management) skills. The share of HGIEs having used state support is well below average (33%). The UK is a sample country with a comprehensive approach for fostering HGIEs, notably with the recently introduced GrowthAccelerator programme. Poland is currently developing measures to support HGIEs. Polish HGIEs were particularly critical about business framework conditions in their country (regulation for starting, running and growing a firm in particular), except regulations about access to capital. There are no HGIE-specific policies in Switzerland but Swiss HGIEs were most positive about framework conditions in their country. The share of HGIEs having used state support was the lowest. Switzerland offers insightful cases of successful highgrowth coaching networks. US: The share of HGIEs that used state support was low (31%). US HGIEs tended to assess business framework conditions as more harmful than HGIEs in other countries. An unfavourable business cycle was found to be a more important barrier than elsewhere. The countries’ best-known HGIEs are not rooted in support programmes. HGIEs in Korea judged framework conditions more positive than in other countries but blamed policy focus on large firms. Use of state measures was below average. In recent years Korea has started shifting its policies away from fostering SMEs in general – which were found to reward staying small – towards HGIE support. Japan does not have specific policies for HGIEs. An SBIR programme introduced in 1999 was found to be rather ineffective. Conclusions Governments seeking to support HGIEs should consider HGIE characteristics such as older age, possible spin-off origin as well as national and sectoral specificities. Policies should be fine-tuned to improve framework conditions (in particular company taxation 8 and labour law), target key barriers for growth (especially regulations for starting and growing a company, difficult access to finance, a lack of skilled employees), and foster key growth factors (e.g. fostering the ability and readiness to actively target growth) as well as internationalisation of HGIEs (because most of them currently focus on national markets). A focus on highgrowth coaching and expanding related networks across Europe may be worthwhile considering. Tentatively, the following policy measures from the countries surveyed might be considered as good practice for fostering HGIEs: The High-Tech Start-up Fund in Germany, the GrowthAccelerator programme in the UK, and CTI Start-up coaching in Switzerland. However, a lack of policy evaluation is a key issue. There is as yet only little scientific evidence about the effectiveness and efficiency of specific HGIE support measures on which recommendations to adopt apparently successful measures from one country to another could be based. However, the number and scope of policy measures for HGIEs as well as the time of the policies’ establishment are increasing, and awareness for policy evaluation is apparently also enhancing. Thus the scientific base for assessing HGIE policies may become more solid soon.
    05 - Forschungs- oder Arbeitsbericht