Small Business Economics

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 355–369 | Cite as

Toward a Typology of University Spin-offs

  • Fabrice Pirnay
  • Bernard Surlemont
  • Fr&;#x00E9;d&;#x00E9;ric Nlemvo


This paper discusses existing definitions of USOs in order to reconcile them and to provide criteria for classifying and understanding the different facets of this multi-headed concept. Drawing the boundaries of this concept and elucidating its variety through a typology are therefore the two main objectives of this paper. USOs are defined as new firms created to exploit commercially some knowledge, technology or research results developed within a university. The proposed typology is based on two key discriminatory factors, namely (1) the status of individuals involved in the new business venturing process (researchers or students) and (2) the nature of knowledge transferred from university to the new venture (codified or tacit), inducing the nature of the USO activities (product or service-oriented).


Research Result Industrial Organization Discriminatory Factor 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabrice Pirnay
    • 1
  • Bernard Surlemont
    • 1
  • Fr&;#x00E9;d&;#x00E9;ric Nlemvo
    • 1
  1. 1.SME and Entrepreneurship Research CentreUniversity of Li&;#x00E8;geLi&;#x00E8;geBelgium

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