entrepreneurship, Europe, Private sector development, innovation and knowledge-based economy, CASE Reports, CASE Network Studies and Analyses

Knowledge-Intensive Entrepreneurship and Opportunities in Two Polish Industries


Following the broad overview of knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship (KIE), or new firm creation in industries considered to be science-based or to use research and development (R&D) intensively, presented in our previous working paper (Woodward et al., 2012), this working paper presents an analysis of two Sectoral Innovation Systems (Malerba, 2002) in the Polish context, presenting case studies of two industries (software and machine tool manufacturing), based on statistical data, interviews with industry experts, and firm-level case studies. We review three sets of opportunities facing firms in these industries: market, technological, and institutional opportunities. Both of these industries appear to be more innovative, and produce more patents, than Polish industry as a whole; their effectiveness in obtaining public assistance is also above average. The software industry is a young and dynamically growing one everywhere, and Poland is no exception. Companies in the industry tend to be young and very small. In Poland, they are very focused on the domestic market and play the role of “knowledge customizers” rather than “knowledge creators”; in an international comparison, even with other post-communist countries in East Central Europe, the Polish software industry appears to have a low R&D intensity. Companies in the machine tool industry are rather larger and somewhat older, and the industry is stable rather than growing in terms of turnover (and declining in terms of employment). Perhaps surprisingly, they are also more innovative and somewhat more export-oriented. However, an international comparison reveals firms in both of these Polish industries to be less innovative than their counterparts in other European countries.