Between vision and reality: Promoting innovation through technoparks in an emerging economy
- a University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, Gower Street, London WC1 6BT, UK
- b Eurasian National University, Innovation Center, Munaitpasov Street, 010008 Astana, Kazakhstan
The paper analyses the role of technoparks as instruments of innovation promotion in Kazakhstan using data from a firm survey and interviews. It explores three specific issues: first, the overall effectiveness of technoparks in promoting innovation development in Kazakhstan, second, the underlying innovation model in Kazakhstan technoparks, and third, whether technoparks can compensate for missing elements in the technology-based infrastructure and environment. Our conclusions are that technopark firms are no more innovative than other firms. They are oriented largely towards the local market, and operate in traditional sectors; the frequency and intensity of their external links are more developed than are their internal links. The key motivations for relocating to a technopark seem to be lower rents and the possibility of accessing finance. Overall, Kazakh technoparks seem to be successful in terms of facilitating business incubation, but much less so in terms of innovation promotion and diversification of the economy. Focusing on technoparks as the main mechanism to diversify the economy seems to be an ineffective and uncertain policy option at this stage of the country's economic development. However, there seems to be significant scope for supporting business incubation. The conclusions of this study are of relevance to other emerging economies.