Small Business Economics

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 773–792 | Cite as

Green start-ups and local knowledge spillovers from clean and dirty technologies

  • Alessandra Colombelli
  • Francesco QuatraroEmail author


There is wide consensus about the importance of green technologies in achieving superior economic and environmental performances. However, the literature on their determinants has neglected the creation of green start-ups as a way of introducing green technologies onto the market. Drawing upon the knowledge spillovers theory of entrepreneurship (KSTE) and on previous literature on the complex and systemic nature of green technologies, we have tested the relevance of local knowledge stocks, distinguishing between clean and dirty stocks, in the creation of green start-ups. Moreover, the effects of the technological composition of local stocks have been investigated, by focusing on both related and unrelated technological variety, as well as on coherence. Consistently with the recent literature, green start-ups are associated with higher levels of variety, thus pointing to the relevance of diverse and heterogeneous knowledge sources, although in related and complementary technological fields.


Green start-ups New firm formation Energy-related technologies Knowledge-spillovers theory of entrepreneurship 

JEL classifications

L26 M13 R11 O33 

Supplementary material

11187_2017_9934_MOESM1_ESM.docx (85 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 85 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DIGEP, Polytechnic of TurinTurinItaly
  2. 2.BRICK, Collegio Carlo AlbertoMoncalieriItaly
  3. 3.GREDEG-CNRS, Université Cote d’AzurNiceFrance
  4. 4.Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de MartiisUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

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