Concentrations of advanced higher-education and research institutions and highly innovative firms have become one of the most important variables in the formulation of public policies and in the strategies of development agencies and research funding organizations.
Grasping at why certain places may draw more companies or foster business more efficiently than others is key for understanding the concepts of "Entrepreneurship" and "Geography of Innovation" -- whose names were borrowed to christen the International Symposium promoted by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), in São Paulo, Brazil, which gathered researchers from Brazil, the Americas, Europe and Asia.
"What has changed since then is that our interest has shifted from manufacturers to clusters of technology- and knowledge-intensive firms.
The project is supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation FAPESP through its São Paulo Excellence Chair (SPEC) program.
As illustrated by the economic landscape of Brazilian cities like Campinas and São José dos Campos, in the State of São Paulo, the formation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem generates the condition in which firms "tend to benefit from each others' presence in the same area", as Ron Boschma puts it - Boschma is Full Professor of Regional Economics at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and a professor of innovation studies at the University of Stavanger in Norway.
"The scenarios outlined show you can't simply start from scratch," Boschma said.