This is a new work that I recently sended to the Ideas for Cuba contest. This is the fourth of a series of 5 articles.
3-Encourage the creation of entrepreneurial ecosystems in science and technology parks through synergies between Cuban universities and international companies
Innovation is an important driver of economic transformation and development. It has long been considered that the facilitation and promotion of innovation are a strategic objective of the economic policy of countries with more advanced economies and are receiving increasing attention in most developing countries.
In recent decades, governments in the world have placed great interest in achieving competitive advantages in their economies that allow them to achieve sustainable economic growth, comparable or greater than that of their peers. One of the most frequently used ways to achieve these competitive advantages is the development of a better capacity to innovate, that is, to generate new products, designs, processes, services, methods or organizations or to increase value to existing ones. .
At present, science and technology parks are spread all over the world. Generally, they follow a similar format, with universities and research and development centers located next to the park, and companies in the vicinity in search of human capital for business opportunities. Most have been backed by government policies ranging from tax structures favorable to investment in research and development to integration with public education systems.
The Cuban system of higher education, in spite of the reduction of its university enrollments, is characterized by presenting a degree of quality superior to many public education systems of the Latin American region, which has been endorsed in various reports of the Organization of United Nations.
However, one limitation is the degree of integration of Cuban universities with the research processes of production. The task is to link the foreign direct investment of international companies with the research groups and scientific societies of our higher education system. In this way, science and technology parks would be created that would bypass schools, generating authentic entrepreneurial ecosystems of innovation and development.
The degree of synergies to be achieved between schoolchildren and corporations would allow an integrative leap of technological transfers to our country. Also the experience sown in the students would serve to increase the professional possibilities of the graduates, either by linking to companies related to their research field or carrying out projects of their own initiative.
The implementation of this process would increase the quality of Cuban education and the potential of our economy through multiple gradients of development, to be accompanied by a boom in university enrollments in technical sciences that stimulates the linkage of international companies with our educational system.
Taking advantage of the professional opportunities of graduates, would stimulate the growth of people who opt for higher education, increasing the level of productivity of the workforce and reversing the declining cultural level of Cuban society. In turn, the further results of the research processes of production would dissolve in industrial and agricultural zones throughout the national territory with the consequent positive effect on economic growth.
The importance of private sector participation from the beginning should be highlighted. In this case, the role of the government is that of an indirect facilitator, not the director. In trying to shape the growth of these ecosystems, attention must be paid to the support of companies with great growth potential that can help generate added value in the national economy and in the higher education system. So it is very important that they are not paralyzed by complex regulatory barriers. This is the opportunity for success stories to become role models for other potential investors to be incorporated successively.
Helping these companies to succeed has more to do with removing the obstacles to their growth, such as anti-competitive cultures, complex tax systems, unnecessary bureaucracy or lack of access to markets, qualified employees or national projects.
It is important to make the formation of entrepreneurial activities a priority for the government: the formulation of effective policies for entrepreneurial ecosystems could count on the active participation of government officials working in international spaces to disseminate the potential of the research groups and the scientific societies of Cuban universities to attract the interest of interested companies.
The infrastructures of science and technology parks and the capacity of their entities to bring together the different agents of innovation based on public-private cooperation, must facilitate the optimization and monitoring of the different actions that can be applied on them. the objective of improving the conditions for new knowledge-based businesses to maintain their expansion by strengthening ties and reinforcing local, regional and international networks, where knowledge and innovation can be extended and amplified.
In the universities there would be areas of linkage, extension and research dedicated to studying the problems of companies, generating information and technological developments of great utility for the productive sector.
Sectoral activities financed in this area would support the development of the corresponding sectoral policy through the application of technologies that stimulate the innovation process. The formulation of the experimental development, innovation and technology transfer, valorisation and promotion of technology-based companies will advance in this direction.
Among the new actions, the initiatives of students and graduates would stand out to provide greater resources for the research and development activities of small and medium-sized technology companies (newly created and highly creative), as well as innovation initiatives. that make use of technology to convert research projects into concrete applications that reach the market.
Within this line, projects of fundamental research, applied and industrial research, experimental development and innovation, clearly differentiated projects, which refer to the different phases and forms of production, application, use and exploitation of knowledge, would be financed. Likewise, projects aimed at improving the dissemination of the results of scientific research and the promotion of a productive culture would be contemplated.
A country with greater strengths in the field of innovation will have greater capacity to increase its productivity not only because of the direct effect generated by any innovation, but above all because it will be better prepared to face the uncertainties generated by the current environment of global competition and for adapt to the changing conditions of their environment.
In addition, innovation generates great benefits for the actors involved:
For consumers, innovation translates into better products and services, in terms of quality, design, price and efficiency.
For companies, innovation results in greater profitability derived from the possibility of designing and producing new or better goods and services or using more efficient production techniques than those of its competitors. Likewise, those companies that generate permanent capabilities to innovate have the necessary knowledge to respond quickly and effectively to the opportunities of globalization, as well as respond efficiently to the competitive threats of their rivals and the environment. All this translates into the possibility of growing steadily.
For society, innovation generates new knowledge and solutions to problems related to health, the environment, poverty, security, among others, in addition to achieving sustained economic growth by being sustained by improvements in productivity.
All these benefits are difficult to achieve because to achieve an environment conducive to innovation, it is necessary to solve various coordination problems, information failures and highly internalized bureaucratic complexities in the Cuban economic system.
For these reasons, it is necessary to establish State policies that allow strengthening the established chain between education, basic and applied science, technology and innovation. Likewise, it is necessary to encourage in private companies the use of information technologies, creativity and technological development in their products and services. For this, it is necessary to generalize the use of methods and processes focused on innovation in the Cuban private sector, promote training and integration of human capital as a determining factor for the incorporation of knowledge into production processes and promote the improvement and increase of programs of financing for scientific and technological development and innovation. The proposal presented in this point is completely oriented in that sense.