Small Business Economics

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 523–543 | Cite as

The creation of high-tech ventures in entrepreneurial ecosystems: exploring the interactions among university knowledge, cooperative banks, and individual attitudes

  • Niccolò Ghio
  • Massimiliano Guerini
  • Cristina Rossi-LamastraEmail author


This paper investigates the interplay among three main elements of an entrepreneurial ecosystem: local universities, local financial system, and residents’ individual attitudes. Specifically, we study how the local availability of university knowledge interacts with the relative presence of cooperative banks in the local banking industry and with the residentstendency to behave opportunistically to determine the creation of high-tech ventures in a territory (i.e., Italian provinces). Our insight is that high information asymmetries impede high-tech entrepreneurial ideas based on university knowledge to attract external finance. Cooperative banks, which have trust-based relationships with the local community, are potentially a valuable source of finance for these entrepreneurial ideas, but are restrained by their inherent risk aversion. Accordingly, we argue that university knowledge and local presence of cooperative banks can interact either positively or negatively in determining the creation of high-tech ventures at the local level. We also contend that residents’ individual attitudes shape this interaction as trust-based relationships are more valuable in areas where residents tend to behave opportunistically. In the empirical part of the paper, we estimate zero-inflated negative binomial regressions where the dependent variable is the number of new high-tech ventures established in 792 province-industry pairs in the period 2012–2014. In line with our reasoning, we find that in provinces where residents tend to behave opportunistically, the relative presence of cooperative banks magnifies the positive effect of university knowledge on high-tech entrepreneurship. Conversely, this effect is negligible in provinces with less opportunistic residents.


Entrepreneurial ecosystems University knowledge Cooperative banks Individual attitudes High-tech firms 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niccolò Ghio
    • 1
  • Massimiliano Guerini
    • 1
  • Cristina Rossi-Lamastra
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Politecnico di Milano—DIGMilanItaly

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