Headlines 2014

Reform government funded support for entrepeneurs!


Roger Svensson, IFN, is the author of a study "Successful support for R & D, innovation and entrepreneurship," which was presented by the think tank Fores on Wednesday. Roger Svensson argues that many forms of support to R & D and innovation is not working well, and that several actions are poorly evaluated. He reasons that the rules for government venture capital funds should be amended and that state funds such as Fourier transform and Inlandsinnovation should be phased out.

In the picture from left Bengt Lewin, National Audit Office, Roger Svensson, IFN , and Andreas Bergström, Fores.

“Government funded R & D support to the industry is about SEK 4.3 billion per year; large corporations being the main recipient. Swedish small businesses secure only a small part of the R & D support in an international comparison” said Roger Svensson, pointing out that the direct R & D support has hardly at all been evaluated.
“We are supporting innovation with tax money, funding venture capital, loans and grants. But often the money has gone to established companies to save old jobs rather than trying to create new jobs in growing businesses” explained Roger Svensson in his presentation at the lunch seminar.
The starting point for the study is the Lindbeck Commission and its suggestions from over 20 years ago. "We deliberated what reforms that we might need Today" explained Andreas Bergström, Fores, at the seminar. An analysis of R & D and support for innovation as well as the impact of policies for increased entrepreneurship were areas identified by Fores.
“A very high percentage of today's innovation assistance goes either to companies at late stages, where it competes with private financiers, or is actually disguised as regional or industry support. Government venture capital funds that are not fit to support innovative activities in the early stages of a company’s life cycle should be phased out, such as Fourier transform and Inlandsinnovation. Resources should instead go exclusively to small companies and risky projects in early stages” said Roger Svensson.
In his presentation, he pointed to what can be done to make government venture capital funds effective:
“International research has for decades known that co-payment fulfills a very important function by letting the market tell the state fund know which projects are worth developing.”


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In the panel discussion – following Roger Svensson's presentation participated (from left): Marita Ljung, State Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Göran Norén, Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Bengt Lewin, National Audit Office and Roger Svensson.

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