46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
Entrepreneurship is more and more considered a key driver of economic performance. Recent works in the literature on this research area (see Saxenian, 1994; Audretsch and Keilbach, 2004; Cooke, 2004; Cassia, Fattore and Paleari, 2006) suggest that there is a positive link between entrepreneurship capital, regional economic performance and the creation of new firms and businesses. This kind of intangible assets promotes the spillover of knowledge, becoming crucial in building firms and regional innovation capability and strengthening learning capacities. Entrepreneurship is, thus, about change and innovation. In relation to these concepts, the aim of the paper is to highlight the entrepreneurial dimension behind the creation of firms formed around new business ideas in a knowledge-based economy, where value-relevant assets are expected to consist predominately of intangible and non-marketable assets. To this purpose, we focus on companies going public on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), a market dedicated to young and growing companies in both science and non-science based industries. The AIM was launched in 1995, allowing to a large number of SME to go public in the UK, and, today, is recognized as the most successful secondary market in Europe, brought forward as an example by other stock exchanges in mainland Europe. In the paper we investigate the post-IPO performance of listed firms, during the period going from 1995 to 2002, with the aim, first, to highlight the determinants shaping that performance and influencing the local milieu and, secondly, to underline the role of entrepreneurship. The results of this work have some policy implications both at national and regional level. At the national level, policy makers should take into account the relevance of an efficient financial system, in particular the emerging role of secondary markets, and try to remove financial constraints that hamper the the prospect of new businesses. At the regional level, political intervention should aim to promote entrepreneurial activities, which ease the regional process of change, for example, by encouraging the propensity to risk and facilitating the access to external capital.