Mapping Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policies: A Comparison of Italian Region in the EUSAIR Area


EUSAIR strategy
regional development


The European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region is a macro-regional strategy aimed to promote economic and social prosperity and growth in the macro-region by improving its attractiveness, competitiveness, and connectivity.
The debate related to the territory’s growth, attractiveness, and competitiveness is still ongoing. The recent literature has revived the innovation and entrepreneurship topics as drivers of development. Scholars have embraced the concept of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, emphasizing the need to create the conditions for regional development to take place. To determine what policies can be activated to support an ecosystem's development, this study draws on the entrepreneurial ecosystems literature, deepening the literature on top-down interventions. It also examines measures that favor and support regional development in line with the EUSAIR strategy.
Therefore, this study analyses entrepreneurship and innovation policies adopted by three Italian regions belonging to the macro-region, i.e., Lombardy, Molise, and Calabria. Specifically, this work aims to answer the following research question: “How do Italian regions approach the EUSAIR challenges through entrepreneurship and innovation policies?”
We analyse and apply a Thematic Content Analysis on the Regional Operational Programmes that include the macro-region objectives.
The main results show three policy groups i.e., remedial and basic, reinforcing, and shooting policies. According to the regions’ development level and the policies implemented, this study linked the three policy groups to the entrepreneurial ecosystem stages, i.e., nascent, strengthening, and resilient ecosystems. We create a theoretical model that highlights this link between regions, policy directions, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem stages.