One fifth of start-up companies based in Baden-Württemberg are academic spin-offs, that is, companies where at least one of the founders previously worked or currently works in a scientific research institution. This puts Baden-Württemberg in Southwest Germany above the average share of academic spin-offs for the other German states, where 17 per cent of start-up businesses have origins in the field of scientific research. This is one of the findings of a special analysis of the most recent IAB/ZEW Start-up Panel conducted by the Mannheim-based Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) specifically for Baden-Württemberg on behalf of L-Bank.

The analysis is based on data from the IAB/ZEW Start-up Panel, which observes the development of start-up companies over a period of several years. Since 2008, around 6,000 companies across Germany have been surveyed on an annual basis as part of the panel. As of 2015, an additional sample of nearly 1,500 companies based in Baden-Württemberg has also been surveyed annually in order to build a representative picture of start-up activity in the state and to be able to draw a comparison to the average level of start-up activity across Germany.

With 20 per cent of companies founded in the region between 2012 and 2015 having at least one researcher from a scientific institution involved in their founding, the level of academic spin-off activity in Baden-Württemberg is considerably higher than the average for the other German states (17 per cent). Given that many studies have shown that academic spin-offs are more likely to engage in innovation activities than otherwise comparable companies, this could explain why the percentage of innovators among start-ups in Baden-Württemberg is also higher than the average for the other German states (start-ups undertaking product innovations: 32 per cent/26 per cent; start-ups undertaking process innovations: 15 per cent/13 per cent). One factor contributing in no small way to the above-average level of academic spin-off activity in Baden-Württemberg is the state’s fairly decentralised structure of universities, technical colleges and research institutions in comparison to other federal states.

As part of the IAB/ZEW Start-up Panel, ZEW together with the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg, regularly collects data on start-up companies across Germany along with information concerning the companies’ profiles. Every year, an additional sample is collected for Baden-Württemberg on behalf of L-Bank.

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