Poles of economic development: a right pathway to foster entrepreneurial and innovation processes?

Blazquez, Victor (2016) Poles of economic development: a right pathway to foster entrepreneurial and innovation processes? In: regiosuisse-Wissenschaftsforum 2016 "Wie gestalten sich erfolgreiche Innovations-und Unternehmensprozesse auf regionaler Ebene?", 23.11.2016-24.11.2016, Interlaken,Switzerland. (Unpublished)

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The concept of ZIIC (Industrial Zones of Cantonal Interest) is born in the late 70s in the application of the Federal law on investment in mountain regions (LIM) and the Cantonal law on the promotion of industrial and craft activities (L-Prom). In Ticino have been established three ZIICs: the first one in Biasca in the late 70s, the second one in Riazzino in mid 90s and the third one in the late 90s in Balerna*. Throughout this time span, the performance and outcomes pertaining to each ZIIC in Ticino has been uneven. The hypothesis behind this policy assumed that by defining settlement spaces for innovative companies with high added value, it would be possible to stimulate and trigger off virtuous innovation processes and productivity among them. There is an important research gap which should be covered in order to analyse and understand how these industrial zones have developed since their inception. In order to planning a more coherent economic and innovation strategy in the canton it results crucial to: assess their evolution, governance and monitoring systems against the original hypothesis which allowed their establishment. This paper focuses on start covering the aforementioned gap by studying the ZIIC Biasca. This project - which was commissioned by the Municipality of Biasca and supported by the Cantonal authorities (DFE and DT), was geared and fine-tuned to analyse the following vectors; ZIIC’s development and current situation; its management and governance systems; decision making processes and companies’ role in co-steering the industrial zone; the communication and cooperation among companies themselves and public authorities. By assessing these components, this research has provided more understanding about how to manage industrial zones in both sustainable and strategic ways. It has also contributed to gather knowledge on how to improve economic impact, business innovation practices as well as territorial and regional development. The research also sheds light on understanding how to better - and efficiently - invest and implement public policies aiming at boosting regional development and economic innovation. Beyond these points, this research stimulates the private-public debate on how to plan and organise the whole regional system of innovation. It reflects as well on the future role of the existing - or new- industrial zones within this strategic discourse. Finally, this research provides valuable insights on how bridge the gap between suburban and urban areas by improving innovation-driven processes and entrepreneurial actions. *It should also be noted that in 2013 with the amendment of the Cantonal director plan (PD) the ZIICs were converted formally Poles of economic development (PSE) – changed only nomenclature.

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