Building a Bridge to the Market
Currently, few links exist between universities and the business community. This makes sense, because both work differently. State-funded universities largely run as not-for-profit entities, whereas businesses with shareholders are at home in the capitalist paradigm. Regardless, universities often declare that they benefit from established links to the business community. These exist mainly in research, where corporations sponsor certain projects. However, when examined more closely, such connections do little for university startups—as I have mentioned, they are often nothing more than a convenient strategy for corporations to let researchers do their R&D inexpensively. Such links are not particularly valuable for universities, and the knowledge exchange is lopsided. Corporations extract know-how from university research teams, but universities gain no insight about how entrepreneurship works and how they could better commercialize research in the market. This is unfortunate, and some universities have begun to realize there is room for improvement.