Promoting Entrepreneurship in the Agri-food Industry: Policy Insights from a Pan-European Public–Private Consortium

Bolzani, Daniela; Carli, Giacomo; Fini, Riccardo and Sobrero, Maurizio (2015). Promoting Entrepreneurship in the Agri-food Industry: Policy Insights from a Pan-European Public–Private Consortium. Industry and Innovation, 22(8) pp. 753–784.



Despite the importance of entrepreneurship as an engine for socioeconomic growth, few attempts have been made to study how and to what extent industry-specific policies can sustain it. In particular, to date, there is only anecdotal evidence on which factors policy-makers can utilize to foster entrepreneurship within the agri-food sector. In this paper, we attempt to fill this gap by developing, testing, and validating a multi-item scale, identifying five factors (i.e. people, money, network, technology, infrastructure) and 16 specific tools (i.e. items) to be leveraged in promoting entrepreneurship within the agri-food industry. We carry out our study in the context of Foodbest, a pan-European public–private consortium created in 2012 to support entrepreneurship and innovation in the agri-food sector. By testing for differences in perceptions of factors’ and tools’ effectiveness, we find variations according to respondents’ organizational and country affiliation. We thus offer new insights into how public policy and public–private consortiums can proactively promote entrepreneurship in the agri-food domain. Key Points: We cover three key points. First, by conducting a literature review and working with a focus group, we identify a set of theoretically grounded factors and tools that could help promote entrepreneurship in the agri-food industry. Second, we develop and test a multi-item scale of these factors within the context of a pan-European public–private consortium. Third, we show that perceptions of factor effectiveness vary among consortium participants according to participants’ personal characteristics and organizational affiliations.

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