Keywords: business services, clusters, industrial districts, SMEs, industrial policy, regional development policy, innovation, small and medium-sized enterprises, business development, Italy, business service development
Business Development Service centres in Italy: close to firms, far from innovation
The notion of 'Business Development Service' (BDS) is quickly gaining popularity among policy makers and scholars of management, industrial organisation and development. Similarly, attention is increasingly paid to the institutions and centres offering BDS, as an essential part of the 'local' or 'regional innovation system'. The paper analyses the experience of BDS Centres in three highly developed Italian regions, Emilia Romagna, Lombardia and Veneto, and evaluates their performance and contribution to the regional industrial, and notably SME, development. The paper is based on a survey of 30 BDS Centres and it uses quantitative together with qualitative evidence.