Author(s): Almudena Eizaguirre, Ariane Díaz-Iso, María Vivar-Simón, Leire Markuerkiaga
Over the past few years, there has been a growing number of studies indicating that entrepreneurial activities performed at universities, such as cooperative research and the creation of spin-offs or patents and licenses, have a positive impact on the socioeconomic development of a country and responding to the challenges at the regional and national levels (Fernández-Nogueira et al., 2018).
Hence, this study aims to assess whether Spanish universities are committed to the mission of encouraging entrepreneurial activities that contribute to the socioeconomic development of a region in particular. To that end, on the one hand, the regional evolution with respect to the entrepreneurial activities conducted by Spanish universities is evaluated through secondary data (websites and reports), and on the other hand, it determines which regions had more or less active entrepreneurial universities. Particularly, the study analyzed the entrepreneurial activities of 76 universities in 17 regions in Spain (Europe).
To conduct the said analysis, the use of a tool is proposed to assess the entrepreneurial nature of universities from a given region, and it comprised a set of observable quantitative indicators that aid in data collection through supporting documentation. Additionally, information was collected and analyzed by triangulating sources and researchers.
The key study findings conclude that a positive evolution could be observed in terms of entrepreneurial results in most of the regions. Regarding the strengths of the Spanish higher education system, it is worth highlighting the number of Offices for the Transfer of Research Results in terms of scientific journals, PhD thesis, and license revenue. As for the system’s weaknesses, less than half of the Spanish regions offer entrepreneurial degrees, with a decrease in the amount of research and development revenue. Furthermore, by being aware of the regional differences, the number of patents and spin-offs has also decreased. Therefore, all actors/stakeholders involved in the higher education institutions should strive toward incorporating entrepreneurial activities for the progress of their respective regions.