Incubators, innovation and growth

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Salmon aren't native to Chile. So how did this shoestring of a country best known for its immense copper reserves become the world's second-largest producer of the rosy-fleshed fish? Much of the credit goes to a Santiago business incubator called Fundación Chile. In the 1980s the nonprofit foundation concluded that Chile had natural competitive advantages that could make it a big success in commercial salmon farming.

Business Week praises the role of innovation incubators in Chile’s development success.  Many have argued that technological innovation and knowledge incubators can play a key role in development – the Scandinavian countries, Chile, Korea, Uganda, Kenya and India being the frequently cited cases (with all the relevant asterisks). For example, Vandana Chandra highlights 10 cases where technological innovations lead to “catching up” (presentation & video). Of course, this always brings up the issue of “picking winners.”

More? See this World Bank event on “The How To of Technological Change and Adaptation for Faster Growth” or this presentation by Fundación Chile.

Update: Knowledge4Development has an excellent page up on new industrial policy case studies.

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